Plans For Austin?

Scott —
I was reading something from one of your books about Steve Austin and it got me thinking. Were there any plans for Austin after WrestleMania XIX? He put the Rock over to set up Rock/Goldberg, then he was written out of the storyline the following night on Raw due to his messed up neck and apparent panic attack the night before the show. Or whatever it was. If he had been healthy enough to keep going, was there a plan for Austin? A move to Smackdown or a feud with HHH or Flair or Michaels on Raw or something? I seem to recall from your review of Raw the night after WrestleMania where Bischoff "fired" him you wrote something like, "See you on Smackdown!"

At the time I thought that the injury thing was a work, but in hindsight it’s pretty clear they were phasing him out in favor of Brock and Angle.  Plus given that Austin’s neck had been known to be shot since the Owen injury in 1997, he had been living on borrowed time anyway.  So unless Austin really dropped a bomb on them just before Wrestlemania, I’m sure they were prepared to let go of him and they had no plans following the Rock match. 

Plans For Austin?

Scott —
I was reading something from one of your books about Steve Austin and it got me thinking. Were there any plans for Austin after WrestleMania XIX? He put the Rock over to set up Rock/Goldberg, then he was written out of the storyline the following night on Raw due to his messed up neck and apparent panic attack the night before the show. Or whatever it was. If he had been healthy enough to keep going, was there a plan for Austin? A move to Smackdown or a feud with HHH or Flair or Michaels on Raw or something? I seem to recall from your review of Raw the night after WrestleMania where Bischoff "fired" him you wrote something like, "See you on Smackdown!"

At the time I thought that the injury thing was a work, but in hindsight it’s pretty clear they were phasing him out in favor of Brock and Angle.  Plus given that Austin’s neck had been known to be shot since the Owen injury in 1997, he had been living on borrowed time anyway.  So unless Austin really dropped a bomb on them just before Wrestlemania, I’m sure they were prepared to let go of him and they had no plans following the Rock match. 

Survivor Series Countdown: 2003

The SmarK Rant for Survivor Series 2003

– Just to put things in perspective for this show, I was the only person to show up at my friend’s place to actually watch this one.  And usually there’s 6-8 people there.

– Live from Dallas, TX.

– Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz.

– Opening match:  John Cena, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Bradshaw & Hardcore Holly v. Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan & A-Train. 

Holly attacks Brock and gets DQ’d right off the bat.  Bradshaw gets the honorary “pin with a clothesline” on A-Train (okay, it’s a lariat, but still…) at 0:44 after Train misses a charge. Show comes in and chokeslams him at 1:03.  This is like a RAW match or something.  Cena comes in and tries an F-U on Show as things slow down a bit, and Lesnar pounds on Cena in the corner.  Brock misses a charge and Cena can’t overpower him, so he clips him instead.  Cena slugs away and gets a rollup for two.  Another one gets two.  Brock powers him down with a clothesline and he gets taken to the heel corner, as Morgan comes in with a headbutt and slugs him down.  Legdrop misses, but he gets a sideslam to complete the Nash Generic Moveset, bringing in Nathan Jones.  Oh, joy.  Nathan slugs him down with knees and yells a lot.  Brock pounds him down, but Cena comes back with the Throwback for two.  Benoit comes in and pounds Lesnar with chops and powers him down.  Man, they’re gonna have a hell of a PPV main event if they ever let them.  Brock hotshots him and gets a lariat, but opts to tag Show in instead of going for the pin.  It’s SURVIVOR SERIES.  A clothesline is a deadly move!  Show presses him and talks a lot.  Chokeslam, but Benoit reverses to the crossface, which Brock immediately breaks up.  Show goes to an abdominal stretch.  The size difference really makes that look like a silly visual.  Show does his goofy legdrop for two.  The heels engage in shenanigans behind the ref’s back, and it’s a brawl outside, Katie bar the door.  Back in, Morgan tags back in but misses a big boot and gets his knee dropkicked.  Benoit kicks him in the face and Angle comes in with a german suplex series on Morgan (welcome to the WWE, check your vertebrae at the door) and holds off Jones and Brock with more suplexes.  Heel miscommunication sees Jones booting Morgan by mistake (and slipping and falling on his ass) and the Angle slam gets rid of ½ of the dead weight at 9:21, as Morgan is gone.  More miscommunication disposes of Jones at 9:46 via anklelock.  Brock destroys Kurt with the F5 at 10:01, before the announcement can even be made.  Well, short night for Kurt, but it’s understandable.  Brock goes after Benoit and misses a charge, so Benoit works on the arm and whips him around the ring, but runs into an elbow in the corner.  Brock goes for the F5, but Benoit counters into the crossface, but Brock rolls him over for two.  Benoit is having none of that, and locks it back in again.  Brock makes the ropes.  Brock charges, but gets caught with another one, and this time he taps at 12:07.  We’ll see if it means anything in the long run.  (2011 Scott sez:  Nope.) So Show is left 2-on-1 and he slugs away on Benoit, but misses a clumsy charge and Benoit nails him with a flying shoulderblock from the top, for two.  He tries a crossface on Show, but he’s too big.  Cena gets tagged in by accident, as Show chokeslams Benoit, but Cena bops him with the chain and FUs him for the pin at 13:30 to finish.  Felt really rushed and most of the heel team dragged it down, as did the limited involvement of Kurt Angle.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Vince bumps into Shane and has a bizarre laugh-off with Austin.

Women’s title:  Molly Holly v. Lita. 

They reverse of a go-behind to start and Lita takes her down for two and gets a monkey-flip.  They head out and Molly gets sent into the apron, which gets two for Lita. Suplex and she goes for a flying headscissors, but Molly dumps her to the floor and sends her into the railing on a nice bump.  Back in, Molly gets two. Neckbreaker gets two.  We hit the chinlock and Lita fights out, but Molly switches to a dragon sleeper, giving a choice view of the cleavage.  Lita knees out of it, so Molly pounds her down again to set up the handspring elbow, which prompts JR to bring up the Great Muta.  Who’d have thunk that Muta’s name would get mentioned on WWE programming on a semi-regular basis?  (2011 Scott sez:  They should bring him in to book and wrestle, too.  Yeah, he can’t speak English, but lack of language skills doesn’t seem to be an impediment to writing RAW these days.)  Lita goes up with a sloppy high cross, for two.  Lita does some ludicrously weak punches in the corner and gets a rollup for two, but she walks into a sideslam for two.  Molly tries her own punches, but Lita powerbombs her out of the corner.  Well, that’s what happens when you trash-talk.  Lita fights back with an awkward Russian legsweep and goes up for the Litasault, which misses.  Molly Go Round hits, but only gets two.  Molly exposes a turnbuckle, sends Lita into it, and that’s enough to finish at 6:49.  All’s fair in love and Christmas sales.  Molly did her best with what she was given.  *1/2  The thing with Lita that sets her apart from the rest of the fairly-good women’s division right now is this, and this will probably sound obvious but bear with me:  With everyone else, they do what they can do, and don’t do what they can’t do.  Trish Stratus discovered her talent for gymnastic moves and high kicks, so that’s what she does.  Gail Kim was limited to a few moves, so they made her a heel and stuck her on the apron where she could come in for a hit-and-run attack.  But here you have Lita, who throws terrible punches (I mean, horrible, god-awful, Billy Gunn with a limp wrist punches) and stumbles through basic moves while on the comeback, and it makes her look bush-league because her comebacks are based on these terrible punches she’s never learned to throw.  What she needs to go super-basic and relearn the in-ring aspect.  For instance, she has GREAT, athletic legs, and she never uses them.  She should be out there kicking the shit out of the other girls with high kicks like Trish does or learning more martial-arts oriented offense so she can bring attention to her legs rather than her weak punches.  Trish can’t punch, so she doesn’t.  Neither should Lita.  If she did just that, eliminating the worst part of her offense and replacing it with a basic striking offense that’s easier to learn and more visually impressive, she would look like a better worker immediately and not like a 4th grader in a school play with high-schoolers.  But maybe that’s just me.  (2011 Scott sez:  As it turns out, she discovered her true talent was fucking over Matt Hardy and showing her awesome rack off, and she ended up as a main event draw with Edge as a result.  Go with what you know!)

– Ambulance Match:  Shane McMahon v. Kane.

Shane charges him to start and they tumble out of the ring, and Shane meets the stairs.  Kane takes a run at him with the stairs, but Shane retaliates with a STEEL chair and pounds him down.  Ever notice that every metallic object in wrestling, no matter what it might actually consist of, seems to be steel?  Steel railing, steel post, steel chair, steel shovel…etc.  Why not vary the atomic table a bit and have a titanium post, or a cobalt railing?  Kane gets put on the table and Shane drops the big elbow to break it.  They wander to the back and the camera cuts out (glitch #1), but another one cuts in as Shane runs away from Kane and then sneaks up on him with a kendo stick, with which he inflicts some damage.  Then, for laughs, he runs him over with an SUV.  Obviously we’ve been desensitized to cartoon violence, because that probably wouldn’t even get a two-count if pinfalls counted.  Shane barks “send it” into a walkie-talkie that appears out of nowhere (was he just carrying one, just in case?) and an ambulance (but not THE ambulance) appears, which Shane is unable to herd Kane into.  The camera cuts out again (glitch #2) and we switch to another one as the director informs us that he’s at the end of his rope via some stolen audio (glitch #3) as they keep fighting back into the arena again, where we’re at least fairly assured of the cameras remaining on the air.  Kane tosses him into the ambulance (but is it a STEEL ambulance?) as Shane takes some silly bumps and then comes back to ram Kane into it in turn.  It’s fiberglass, guys, quit being pussies.  Shane rams the back door into Kane’s head a couple of times, which at least could plausibly hurt.  Kane won’t go down, however, and boots Shane down.  Kane shoves him in, but can’t close the door.  Shane fights back, misses what was supposed to be a hurricane DDT off the ambulance, and then repeats the spot.  Sigh.  That’s the thing with non-wrestlers like Shane – if they blow something, they’re such slaves to the script that they can’t really make it up as they go along.  Shane cans him down and climbs the ambulance, but misses a dive and lands on a conveniently placed crash pad.  But was it a STEEL cardboard box?  I mean, come on, a CRASH PAD?  Apparently it was supposed to be a Van Terminator, but when you’re trying a Van Terminator off an ambulance onto a crash pad, it looks just a BIT  contrived.  They fight over the ambulance and Kane tosses him around a bit more and piledrives him on the concrete to put everyone out of their misery at13:29.  This was about 10 minutes too long for what they were trying to accomplish.  ½*

– Meanwhile, Brock bumps into Goldberg.

– The Coach comes out and makes fun of Mark Cuban in the front row, prompting a verbal showdown in the ring between Cuban and Eric Bischoff, but Randy Orton comes in and delivers an RKO to him, which Cuban sells better than half the roster.  Honest.  Total waste of PPV time, regardless.

– Meanwhile, Evolution parties with hookers.  I’m sure Steph appreciates that.

 – Smackdown tag titles:  The Basham Brothers v. Los Guerreros.

The Guerreros clean house to start, and Chavo elbows down Danny.  Eddie comes in and stomps away in the corner, setting up the rolling verticals for two.  Chavo gets a seated dropkick for two.  Eddie slingshots in for two.  Double headscissors on the Bashams, but they get a double-hotshot to take over on him.  This is apparently a “classic Bashams double-team” according to Cole.  They’ve been around for long enough to have a classic double-team? (2011 Scott sez:  VINTAGE BASHAMS!)  Eddie gets harassed outside the ring, and back in Doug gets two.  Double slingshot suplex gets two.  Good double-team move.  Doug hits the chinlock, but Eddie escapes with a headscissors, allowing the hot tag to Chavo.  He cleans house with the usual generic babyface stuff and a sideslam gets two.  Bashams fire back with a flapjack on him, but Eddie breaks up a double-powerbomb attempt and brings Doug down with a rana from the top for two.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Eddie gets dumped, leaving Chavo to fend for himself with a double-clothesline.  The Bashams do the switcheroo as Chavo goes after Shaniqua and Eddie frog splashes her, and they spank her.  Is this really necessary?  The Bashams attack again, but Chavo kicks Eddie by mistake, the Bashams switch again, and Danny pins Chavo with a rollup at 7:32.  Turned into a big mess at the end, and the stuff with Shaniqua wasn’t necessary.  **  (2011 Scott sez:  They really flushed away whatever Doug Basham could have brought to the table.  Danny not so much, but Doug had something special in OVW.)

 – Booker T, Bubba Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Rob Van Dam & Shawn Michaels v. Mark Henry, Scott Steiner, Chris Jericho, Christian & Randy Orton.

The teams don’t even get separate entrances, and poor Booker T doesn’t even get an introduction, period!  JR rambles about Fabio and giving “mad props” making people stale characters.  If ANYONE shouldn’t talk about being stale, it’s that announce team.  D-Von & Christian exchange headlocks as JR desperately tries to get “CLB” over again.  (2011 Scott sez:  Creepy Little Bastard is trending worldwide on Twitter!) D-Von slugs away on the mat and gets a clothesline for two.  Man, again someone kicks out of a clothesline.  What kind of Survivor Series is this?  Where’s Ted Dibiase to pin guys with his feet on the ropes when you need him?  RVD comes in with a spinkick for two, but Jericho dropkicks him and slugs away.  Rob mulekicks him and pounds away in the corner, into a northern lights suplex for two. Jericho gets the enzuigiri for two.  Steiner comes in and pounds him in the corner, but Rob spinkicks him for two.  Another one misses and Steiner uses the banned overhead suplex (which JR specifically calls dangerous, usually a giveaway), and a belly-to-belly gets two.  (2011 Scott sez:  Whatever happened to that suplex ban, I wonder?)  He charges and misses, but Rob goes up and gets crotched, allowing Steiner to get an overhead superplex for two.  Booker tags in, however, and slugs away on Steiner, but gets elbowed down.  Booker comes back with the axe kick and decides to Spinarooni.  Spinebuster on Steiner gets two, and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA.  Steiner gets the Recliner, but the Dudleyz break it up with a double-team neckbreaker and the Bookend finishes Steiner at 7:28.  Henry bodyslams Booker for the pin at 7:53.  Poor Booker gets to job in Texas again.  Henry overpowers RVD with a clothesline but Bubba tags in and slugs away, but can’t overpower Henry.  Well, duh.  Henry chokes him out.  Henry whips him around and overpowers both Dudley Boyz, then goes after D-Von.  He misses a charge and walks into 3D at 10:03. Jericho pounds RVD down and chops away in the corner, but Rob moonsaults him for two.  Orton comes in for the first time and misses a charge, but comes back with a nice clothesline out of the corner for two.  He misses another charge (maybe he should stop charging) and RVD gets Rolling Thunder and pops up, but Jericho pushes him off the top, into an RKO at 12:06.  D-Von goes next and gets a legdrop for two.  Sideslam and flying headbutt get two. Jericho makes a blind tag but runs into D-Von on the way in, but comes back with a missile dropkick for two.  He misses a charge and D-Von shoulderblocks him, but Jericho gets the Flashback at 13:50.  So we’re 3-on-2, as Bubba charges and misses, but comes back with a sideslam for two.  Shawn comes in for the first time and chops away in the corner to set up the pummeling, fighting off Christian, but Jericho trips him up and brings Orton back in, who gets two.  Orton stomps away, but misses a dropkick (although he’s so tall that he caught Shawn in the mouth inadvertently), and tags abound.  Bubba holds off the heels as Christian is legal, and he gets hotshot and backdropped for two.  Bubba gets a samoan drop on Orton and Flips and Flops on Jericho, but can’t fly. Jericho goes low, and Christian hits the Unprettier for the pin at 16:50.  So it’s Shawn 1-on-3, which is exactly how you want it – tough enough odds to make it unlikely he’ll win, but not so ridiculous that he can’t.  Shawn fights off the heels and slugs Christian, but gets dumped, and this is where the match officially gets awesome, for those keeping track.  The heels pound him outside and Orton takes over in the ring, stomping away.  Christian works him over in the corner, but Shawn fights back, only to get dragged out of the ring by Jericho and catapulted into the post by Christian, drawing blood.  And it’s a doozy, too.  Crimson mask, stuck pig, pick your cliché.  Christian suplexes him back in for two.  He fights back but Christian goes for the Unprettier again, only to walk into a superkick and get pinned at 20:30, although Shawn basically just fell back on him by a fluke. Jericho tries next, beating the holy spirit out of Shawn in the corner, but he keeps fighting back. Jericho gets a clothesline for two.  Orton pounds him down and chokes away, but walks into a sleeper.  Orton suplexes out without too much trouble, and Jericho gets two off that.  Shawn comes back with a DDT out of the corner, but he doesn’t have enough to make the cover.  Finally he gets a hot two, but Orton saves.  Shawn dumps him to take him out of the equation, and Jericho misses the Lionsault, and Shawn is still out.  Shawn finally fights out, but misses the superkick and Jericho goes for the Walls, countered to the rollup for the pin at 23:56, leaving Shawn v. Orton. Jericho, sportsman, lays out Michaels with a chair afterwards.  I hope Trish wasn’t watching.  Orton pulls himself back into the ring and covers, but only gets two.  Orton goes up and wipes out the referee as a result, so Shawn goes for the superkick.  Bischoff runs in and kicks Shawn down, so Austin gets pissed off and stunners Orton.  From here either result is equally likely, which is why it’s great booking, but they go the heel route, and Batista runs in, delivers a powerbomb to Michaels, and Orton ends Austin’s GM job at 27:27.  This was great drama, with a superhuman effort from Shawn Michaels, and the great thing is that he was never booked like superman – he was booked as a guy getting his ass kicked who got two fluke pins and only would have won with the help of Austin, but the heels outsmarted Austin at his own game and Shawn lost the match.  The match wasn’t much before the 3-on-1 sequence, but everything after was just amazing, Match of the Year Candidate level stuff from Michaels.  **** Austin helps him up and I wait for the stunner, but none comes.  He says his goodbyes and beats up Coach as I’m pressed for time and thus fast-forward.  He’ll be back within a couple of weeks, either on RAW via a loophole or on Smackdown as the new GM, and I think we all know it.  (2011 Scott sez:  SHERIFF AUSTIN!)

 – Buried Alive:  Vince McMahon v. Undertaker.

Again I ask, how can this be Undertaker’s specialty when he’s never WON one of them?  Taker punches Vince to start, and he immediately taps an artery, doing a sick, gory bladejob that immediately makes Shawn’s seem less special.  Taker slugs away and Vince bleeds, and that’s pretty much all there is to the match.  Taker crotches him on the post, and Vince bleeds.  A lot.  Over to the other side of the ring, and Vince gets posted again.  Taker works on the leg, god knows why.  Taker keeps slugging on the cut and chokes him out with the cable as Cole points out that it’s for the threats made against Taker’s wife.  You know, in all fairness to Vince, Undertaker kidnapped and tried to rape Stephanie 4 years before Vince threatened to do the same to Sara Undertaker.  Taker keeps pounding away as the match drags on, going nowhere, and they head back into the ring.  Taker heads over to the grave and gets a STEEL shovel (see what I mean about shiny objects?) and nails Vince with it, unimpressively.  Back to the floor, as Taker puts his ankle on the stairs and slams the other stair onto it.  Hey, 1998 called, it wants its angles back.  Is Undertaker in cahoots with Kane, too?  (2011 Scott sez:  Eventually, yes, I believe he was again.) Taker finally carries Vince over to the grave, but Vince throws dirt at him and goes low, his only offense for the match.  He sends Taker into the grave, but Taker pulls him in and goes for the backhoe, but Kane’s pyro goes off, and Kane appears.  Undertaker is apparently paralyzed with fear or something, and falls into the grave, allowing Kane to bring Vince out and Vince to get into the backhoe and drop the dirt on Undertaker at11:59.  The finish was ridiculously anticlimactic and took forever to set up.  And with all the deaths in wrestling this year, do we really need matches where the object is to bury your opponent in a fake grave, complete with tombstone?  DUD  No one stops to ask if Taker is still, say, alive, and we move on to the next match.  I guess it was just symbolic burial.

 – RAW World title:  Goldberg v. HHH.

HHH is looking very bloated and out-of-shape.  I mean, it’s really noticeable.  Goldberg attacks him to start and gets a spear even before the bell, then goes after Flair too, and he dumps HHH.  They brawl outside and HHH meets the stairs a few times and gets dropped on the railing.  Back in, powerslam and Goldberg goes for a press slam, but the injured ankle gives way and HHH goes for it with a chop block.  Goldberg gets tossed and HHH works the ankle with a chair and Flair posts the ankle, and they head back in for another chop block.  HHH keeps stomping the ankle and Flair adds some cheapshots.  Choking follows.  Goldberg bails and Flair attacks the ankle, and they head back in, where HHH drops a knee on the ankle and goes to a half-crab.  Goldberg is under the ropes, however.  HHH tries to post him, but Goldberg powers off.  HHH goes right back to the ankle again, but Goldberg comes out of the corner with a clothesline.  He goes for another slam and HHH awkwardly escapes with another chop block, setting up a figure-four.  Goldberg blocks and the ref is bumped as a result, so HHH gets some brass knux from Flair.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.  HHH clocks Goldberg for two, and then elbowdrops the ref out of spite.  He retrieves his trusty sledgehammer, but walks into a boot from Goldberg.  Flair gets slammed off the top, as usual, and Goldberg fights them both off, but now the rest of Evolution comes in and gets sledged by Goldberg.  HHH catches him with a Pedigree attempt, but Goldberg backdrops out, symbolically tosses down the hammer, and ops to finish with the spear and jackhammer instead at 11:41.  Well, they sure booked him strong tonight, I’ll give ‘em that.  Match wasn’t good or anything, but hopefully it helped Goldberg.  If HHH really wants to be the bigger man, he’ll let himself get punked out by Orton tonight and then take his vacation to Hollywood.  *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  C’mon, The Chaperone isn’t gonna make itself!)

The Bottom Line:

The booking and effort were strong, but there was too much talking and dead space in the middle, especially with matches involving people named McMahon, so even with Shawn’s miracle performance I can’t go any higher than thumbs in the middle.

With Undertaker,Austin, Rock and HHH all gone, however, the main event scene will be forced to push someone new for the first time since 1997.  I guess that’ll be the real test.  (2011 Scott sez:  The guy they picked did OK for himself, at least, even if half the arena hates him at any one time.)

 

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 2003

The SmarK Rant for Survivor Series 2003

– Just to put things in perspective for this show, I was the only person to show up at my friend’s place to actually watch this one.  And usually there’s 6-8 people there.

– Live from Dallas, TX.

– Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz.

– Opening match:  John Cena, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Bradshaw & Hardcore Holly v. Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan & A-Train. 

Holly attacks Brock and gets DQ’d right off the bat.  Bradshaw gets the honorary “pin with a clothesline” on A-Train (okay, it’s a lariat, but still…) at 0:44 after Train misses a charge. Show comes in and chokeslams him at 1:03.  This is like a RAW match or something.  Cena comes in and tries an F-U on Show as things slow down a bit, and Lesnar pounds on Cena in the corner.  Brock misses a charge and Cena can’t overpower him, so he clips him instead.  Cena slugs away and gets a rollup for two.  Another one gets two.  Brock powers him down with a clothesline and he gets taken to the heel corner, as Morgan comes in with a headbutt and slugs him down.  Legdrop misses, but he gets a sideslam to complete the Nash Generic Moveset, bringing in Nathan Jones.  Oh, joy.  Nathan slugs him down with knees and yells a lot.  Brock pounds him down, but Cena comes back with the Throwback for two.  Benoit comes in and pounds Lesnar with chops and powers him down.  Man, they’re gonna have a hell of a PPV main event if they ever let them.  Brock hotshots him and gets a lariat, but opts to tag Show in instead of going for the pin.  It’s SURVIVOR SERIES.  A clothesline is a deadly move!  Show presses him and talks a lot.  Chokeslam, but Benoit reverses to the crossface, which Brock immediately breaks up.  Show goes to an abdominal stretch.  The size difference really makes that look like a silly visual.  Show does his goofy legdrop for two.  The heels engage in shenanigans behind the ref’s back, and it’s a brawl outside, Katie bar the door.  Back in, Morgan tags back in but misses a big boot and gets his knee dropkicked.  Benoit kicks him in the face and Angle comes in with a german suplex series on Morgan (welcome to the WWE, check your vertebrae at the door) and holds off Jones and Brock with more suplexes.  Heel miscommunication sees Jones booting Morgan by mistake (and slipping and falling on his ass) and the Angle slam gets rid of ½ of the dead weight at 9:21, as Morgan is gone.  More miscommunication disposes of Jones at 9:46 via anklelock.  Brock destroys Kurt with the F5 at 10:01, before the announcement can even be made.  Well, short night for Kurt, but it’s understandable.  Brock goes after Benoit and misses a charge, so Benoit works on the arm and whips him around the ring, but runs into an elbow in the corner.  Brock goes for the F5, but Benoit counters into the crossface, but Brock rolls him over for two.  Benoit is having none of that, and locks it back in again.  Brock makes the ropes.  Brock charges, but gets caught with another one, and this time he taps at 12:07.  We’ll see if it means anything in the long run.  (2011 Scott sez:  Nope.) So Show is left 2-on-1 and he slugs away on Benoit, but misses a clumsy charge and Benoit nails him with a flying shoulderblock from the top, for two.  He tries a crossface on Show, but he’s too big.  Cena gets tagged in by accident, as Show chokeslams Benoit, but Cena bops him with the chain and FUs him for the pin at 13:30 to finish.  Felt really rushed and most of the heel team dragged it down, as did the limited involvement of Kurt Angle.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Vince bumps into Shane and has a bizarre laugh-off with Austin.

Women’s title:  Molly Holly v. Lita. 

They reverse of a go-behind to start and Lita takes her down for two and gets a monkey-flip.  They head out and Molly gets sent into the apron, which gets two for Lita. Suplex and she goes for a flying headscissors, but Molly dumps her to the floor and sends her into the railing on a nice bump.  Back in, Molly gets two. Neckbreaker gets two.  We hit the chinlock and Lita fights out, but Molly switches to a dragon sleeper, giving a choice view of the cleavage.  Lita knees out of it, so Molly pounds her down again to set up the handspring elbow, which prompts JR to bring up the Great Muta.  Who’d have thunk that Muta’s name would get mentioned on WWE programming on a semi-regular basis?  (2011 Scott sez:  They should bring him in to book and wrestle, too.  Yeah, he can’t speak English, but lack of language skills doesn’t seem to be an impediment to writing RAW these days.)  Lita goes up with a sloppy high cross, for two.  Lita does some ludicrously weak punches in the corner and gets a rollup for two, but she walks into a sideslam for two.  Molly tries her own punches, but Lita powerbombs her out of the corner.  Well, that’s what happens when you trash-talk.  Lita fights back with an awkward Russian legsweep and goes up for the Litasault, which misses.  Molly Go Round hits, but only gets two.  Molly exposes a turnbuckle, sends Lita into it, and that’s enough to finish at 6:49.  All’s fair in love and Christmas sales.  Molly did her best with what she was given.  *1/2  The thing with Lita that sets her apart from the rest of the fairly-good women’s division right now is this, and this will probably sound obvious but bear with me:  With everyone else, they do what they can do, and don’t do what they can’t do.  Trish Stratus discovered her talent for gymnastic moves and high kicks, so that’s what she does.  Gail Kim was limited to a few moves, so they made her a heel and stuck her on the apron where she could come in for a hit-and-run attack.  But here you have Lita, who throws terrible punches (I mean, horrible, god-awful, Billy Gunn with a limp wrist punches) and stumbles through basic moves while on the comeback, and it makes her look bush-league because her comebacks are based on these terrible punches she’s never learned to throw.  What she needs to go super-basic and relearn the in-ring aspect.  For instance, she has GREAT, athletic legs, and she never uses them.  She should be out there kicking the shit out of the other girls with high kicks like Trish does or learning more martial-arts oriented offense so she can bring attention to her legs rather than her weak punches.  Trish can’t punch, so she doesn’t.  Neither should Lita.  If she did just that, eliminating the worst part of her offense and replacing it with a basic striking offense that’s easier to learn and more visually impressive, she would look like a better worker immediately and not like a 4th grader in a school play with high-schoolers.  But maybe that’s just me.  (2011 Scott sez:  As it turns out, she discovered her true talent was fucking over Matt Hardy and showing her awesome rack off, and she ended up as a main event draw with Edge as a result.  Go with what you know!)

– Ambulance Match:  Shane McMahon v. Kane.

Shane charges him to start and they tumble out of the ring, and Shane meets the stairs.  Kane takes a run at him with the stairs, but Shane retaliates with a STEEL chair and pounds him down.  Ever notice that every metallic object in wrestling, no matter what it might actually consist of, seems to be steel?  Steel railing, steel post, steel chair, steel shovel…etc.  Why not vary the atomic table a bit and have a titanium post, or a cobalt railing?  Kane gets put on the table and Shane drops the big elbow to break it.  They wander to the back and the camera cuts out (glitch #1), but another one cuts in as Shane runs away from Kane and then sneaks up on him with a kendo stick, with which he inflicts some damage.  Then, for laughs, he runs him over with an SUV.  Obviously we’ve been desensitized to cartoon violence, because that probably wouldn’t even get a two-count if pinfalls counted.  Shane barks “send it” into a walkie-talkie that appears out of nowhere (was he just carrying one, just in case?) and an ambulance (but not THE ambulance) appears, which Shane is unable to herd Kane into.  The camera cuts out again (glitch #2) and we switch to another one as the director informs us that he’s at the end of his rope via some stolen audio (glitch #3) as they keep fighting back into the arena again, where we’re at least fairly assured of the cameras remaining on the air.  Kane tosses him into the ambulance (but is it a STEEL ambulance?) as Shane takes some silly bumps and then comes back to ram Kane into it in turn.  It’s fiberglass, guys, quit being pussies.  Shane rams the back door into Kane’s head a couple of times, which at least could plausibly hurt.  Kane won’t go down, however, and boots Shane down.  Kane shoves him in, but can’t close the door.  Shane fights back, misses what was supposed to be a hurricane DDT off the ambulance, and then repeats the spot.  Sigh.  That’s the thing with non-wrestlers like Shane – if they blow something, they’re such slaves to the script that they can’t really make it up as they go along.  Shane cans him down and climbs the ambulance, but misses a dive and lands on a conveniently placed crash pad.  But was it a STEEL cardboard box?  I mean, come on, a CRASH PAD?  Apparently it was supposed to be a Van Terminator, but when you’re trying a Van Terminator off an ambulance onto a crash pad, it looks just a BIT  contrived.  They fight over the ambulance and Kane tosses him around a bit more and piledrives him on the concrete to put everyone out of their misery at13:29.  This was about 10 minutes too long for what they were trying to accomplish.  ½*

– Meanwhile, Brock bumps into Goldberg.

– The Coach comes out and makes fun of Mark Cuban in the front row, prompting a verbal showdown in the ring between Cuban and Eric Bischoff, but Randy Orton comes in and delivers an RKO to him, which Cuban sells better than half the roster.  Honest.  Total waste of PPV time, regardless.

– Meanwhile, Evolution parties with hookers.  I’m sure Steph appreciates that.

 – Smackdown tag titles:  The Basham Brothers v. Los Guerreros.

The Guerreros clean house to start, and Chavo elbows down Danny.  Eddie comes in and stomps away in the corner, setting up the rolling verticals for two.  Chavo gets a seated dropkick for two.  Eddie slingshots in for two.  Double headscissors on the Bashams, but they get a double-hotshot to take over on him.  This is apparently a “classic Bashams double-team” according to Cole.  They’ve been around for long enough to have a classic double-team? (2011 Scott sez:  VINTAGE BASHAMS!)  Eddie gets harassed outside the ring, and back in Doug gets two.  Double slingshot suplex gets two.  Good double-team move.  Doug hits the chinlock, but Eddie escapes with a headscissors, allowing the hot tag to Chavo.  He cleans house with the usual generic babyface stuff and a sideslam gets two.  Bashams fire back with a flapjack on him, but Eddie breaks up a double-powerbomb attempt and brings Doug down with a rana from the top for two.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Eddie gets dumped, leaving Chavo to fend for himself with a double-clothesline.  The Bashams do the switcheroo as Chavo goes after Shaniqua and Eddie frog splashes her, and they spank her.  Is this really necessary?  The Bashams attack again, but Chavo kicks Eddie by mistake, the Bashams switch again, and Danny pins Chavo with a rollup at 7:32.  Turned into a big mess at the end, and the stuff with Shaniqua wasn’t necessary.  **  (2011 Scott sez:  They really flushed away whatever Doug Basham could have brought to the table.  Danny not so much, but Doug had something special in OVW.)

 – Booker T, Bubba Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Rob Van Dam & Shawn Michaels v. Mark Henry, Scott Steiner, Chris Jericho, Christian & Randy Orton.

The teams don’t even get separate entrances, and poor Booker T doesn’t even get an introduction, period!  JR rambles about Fabio and giving “mad props” making people stale characters.  If ANYONE shouldn’t talk about being stale, it’s that announce team.  D-Von & Christian exchange headlocks as JR desperately tries to get “CLB” over again.  (2011 Scott sez:  Creepy Little Bastard is trending worldwide on Twitter!) D-Von slugs away on the mat and gets a clothesline for two.  Man, again someone kicks out of a clothesline.  What kind of Survivor Series is this?  Where’s Ted Dibiase to pin guys with his feet on the ropes when you need him?  RVD comes in with a spinkick for two, but Jericho dropkicks him and slugs away.  Rob mulekicks him and pounds away in the corner, into a northern lights suplex for two. Jericho gets the enzuigiri for two.  Steiner comes in and pounds him in the corner, but Rob spinkicks him for two.  Another one misses and Steiner uses the banned overhead suplex (which JR specifically calls dangerous, usually a giveaway), and a belly-to-belly gets two.  (2011 Scott sez:  Whatever happened to that suplex ban, I wonder?)  He charges and misses, but Rob goes up and gets crotched, allowing Steiner to get an overhead superplex for two.  Booker tags in, however, and slugs away on Steiner, but gets elbowed down.  Booker comes back with the axe kick and decides to Spinarooni.  Spinebuster on Steiner gets two, and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA.  Steiner gets the Recliner, but the Dudleyz break it up with a double-team neckbreaker and the Bookend finishes Steiner at 7:28.  Henry bodyslams Booker for the pin at 7:53.  Poor Booker gets to job in Texas again.  Henry overpowers RVD with a clothesline but Bubba tags in and slugs away, but can’t overpower Henry.  Well, duh.  Henry chokes him out.  Henry whips him around and overpowers both Dudley Boyz, then goes after D-Von.  He misses a charge and walks into 3D at 10:03. Jericho pounds RVD down and chops away in the corner, but Rob moonsaults him for two.  Orton comes in for the first time and misses a charge, but comes back with a nice clothesline out of the corner for two.  He misses another charge (maybe he should stop charging) and RVD gets Rolling Thunder and pops up, but Jericho pushes him off the top, into an RKO at 12:06.  D-Von goes next and gets a legdrop for two.  Sideslam and flying headbutt get two. Jericho makes a blind tag but runs into D-Von on the way in, but comes back with a missile dropkick for two.  He misses a charge and D-Von shoulderblocks him, but Jericho gets the Flashback at 13:50.  So we’re 3-on-2, as Bubba charges and misses, but comes back with a sideslam for two.  Shawn comes in for the first time and chops away in the corner to set up the pummeling, fighting off Christian, but Jericho trips him up and brings Orton back in, who gets two.  Orton stomps away, but misses a dropkick (although he’s so tall that he caught Shawn in the mouth inadvertently), and tags abound.  Bubba holds off the heels as Christian is legal, and he gets hotshot and backdropped for two.  Bubba gets a samoan drop on Orton and Flips and Flops on Jericho, but can’t fly. Jericho goes low, and Christian hits the Unprettier for the pin at 16:50.  So it’s Shawn 1-on-3, which is exactly how you want it – tough enough odds to make it unlikely he’ll win, but not so ridiculous that he can’t.  Shawn fights off the heels and slugs Christian, but gets dumped, and this is where the match officially gets awesome, for those keeping track.  The heels pound him outside and Orton takes over in the ring, stomping away.  Christian works him over in the corner, but Shawn fights back, only to get dragged out of the ring by Jericho and catapulted into the post by Christian, drawing blood.  And it’s a doozy, too.  Crimson mask, stuck pig, pick your cliché.  Christian suplexes him back in for two.  He fights back but Christian goes for the Unprettier again, only to walk into a superkick and get pinned at 20:30, although Shawn basically just fell back on him by a fluke. Jericho tries next, beating the holy spirit out of Shawn in the corner, but he keeps fighting back. Jericho gets a clothesline for two.  Orton pounds him down and chokes away, but walks into a sleeper.  Orton suplexes out without too much trouble, and Jericho gets two off that.  Shawn comes back with a DDT out of the corner, but he doesn’t have enough to make the cover.  Finally he gets a hot two, but Orton saves.  Shawn dumps him to take him out of the equation, and Jericho misses the Lionsault, and Shawn is still out.  Shawn finally fights out, but misses the superkick and Jericho goes for the Walls, countered to the rollup for the pin at 23:56, leaving Shawn v. Orton. Jericho, sportsman, lays out Michaels with a chair afterwards.  I hope Trish wasn’t watching.  Orton pulls himself back into the ring and covers, but only gets two.  Orton goes up and wipes out the referee as a result, so Shawn goes for the superkick.  Bischoff runs in and kicks Shawn down, so Austin gets pissed off and stunners Orton.  From here either result is equally likely, which is why it’s great booking, but they go the heel route, and Batista runs in, delivers a powerbomb to Michaels, and Orton ends Austin’s GM job at 27:27.  This was great drama, with a superhuman effort from Shawn Michaels, and the great thing is that he was never booked like superman – he was booked as a guy getting his ass kicked who got two fluke pins and only would have won with the help of Austin, but the heels outsmarted Austin at his own game and Shawn lost the match.  The match wasn’t much before the 3-on-1 sequence, but everything after was just amazing, Match of the Year Candidate level stuff from Michaels.  **** Austin helps him up and I wait for the stunner, but none comes.  He says his goodbyes and beats up Coach as I’m pressed for time and thus fast-forward.  He’ll be back within a couple of weeks, either on RAW via a loophole or on Smackdown as the new GM, and I think we all know it.  (2011 Scott sez:  SHERIFF AUSTIN!)

 – Buried Alive:  Vince McMahon v. Undertaker.

Again I ask, how can this be Undertaker’s specialty when he’s never WON one of them?  Taker punches Vince to start, and he immediately taps an artery, doing a sick, gory bladejob that immediately makes Shawn’s seem less special.  Taker slugs away and Vince bleeds, and that’s pretty much all there is to the match.  Taker crotches him on the post, and Vince bleeds.  A lot.  Over to the other side of the ring, and Vince gets posted again.  Taker works on the leg, god knows why.  Taker keeps slugging on the cut and chokes him out with the cable as Cole points out that it’s for the threats made against Taker’s wife.  You know, in all fairness to Vince, Undertaker kidnapped and tried to rape Stephanie 4 years before Vince threatened to do the same to Sara Undertaker.  Taker keeps pounding away as the match drags on, going nowhere, and they head back into the ring.  Taker heads over to the grave and gets a STEEL shovel (see what I mean about shiny objects?) and nails Vince with it, unimpressively.  Back to the floor, as Taker puts his ankle on the stairs and slams the other stair onto it.  Hey, 1998 called, it wants its angles back.  Is Undertaker in cahoots with Kane, too?  (2011 Scott sez:  Eventually, yes, I believe he was again.) Taker finally carries Vince over to the grave, but Vince throws dirt at him and goes low, his only offense for the match.  He sends Taker into the grave, but Taker pulls him in and goes for the backhoe, but Kane’s pyro goes off, and Kane appears.  Undertaker is apparently paralyzed with fear or something, and falls into the grave, allowing Kane to bring Vince out and Vince to get into the backhoe and drop the dirt on Undertaker at11:59.  The finish was ridiculously anticlimactic and took forever to set up.  And with all the deaths in wrestling this year, do we really need matches where the object is to bury your opponent in a fake grave, complete with tombstone?  DUD  No one stops to ask if Taker is still, say, alive, and we move on to the next match.  I guess it was just symbolic burial.

 – RAW World title:  Goldberg v. HHH.

HHH is looking very bloated and out-of-shape.  I mean, it’s really noticeable.  Goldberg attacks him to start and gets a spear even before the bell, then goes after Flair too, and he dumps HHH.  They brawl outside and HHH meets the stairs a few times and gets dropped on the railing.  Back in, powerslam and Goldberg goes for a press slam, but the injured ankle gives way and HHH goes for it with a chop block.  Goldberg gets tossed and HHH works the ankle with a chair and Flair posts the ankle, and they head back in for another chop block.  HHH keeps stomping the ankle and Flair adds some cheapshots.  Choking follows.  Goldberg bails and Flair attacks the ankle, and they head back in, where HHH drops a knee on the ankle and goes to a half-crab.  Goldberg is under the ropes, however.  HHH tries to post him, but Goldberg powers off.  HHH goes right back to the ankle again, but Goldberg comes out of the corner with a clothesline.  He goes for another slam and HHH awkwardly escapes with another chop block, setting up a figure-four.  Goldberg blocks and the ref is bumped as a result, so HHH gets some brass knux from Flair.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.  HHH clocks Goldberg for two, and then elbowdrops the ref out of spite.  He retrieves his trusty sledgehammer, but walks into a boot from Goldberg.  Flair gets slammed off the top, as usual, and Goldberg fights them both off, but now the rest of Evolution comes in and gets sledged by Goldberg.  HHH catches him with a Pedigree attempt, but Goldberg backdrops out, symbolically tosses down the hammer, and ops to finish with the spear and jackhammer instead at 11:41.  Well, they sure booked him strong tonight, I’ll give ‘em that.  Match wasn’t good or anything, but hopefully it helped Goldberg.  If HHH really wants to be the bigger man, he’ll let himself get punked out by Orton tonight and then take his vacation to Hollywood.  *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  C’mon, The Chaperone isn’t gonna make itself!)

The Bottom Line:

The booking and effort were strong, but there was too much talking and dead space in the middle, especially with matches involving people named McMahon, so even with Shawn’s miracle performance I can’t go any higher than thumbs in the middle.

With Undertaker,Austin, Rock and HHH all gone, however, the main event scene will be forced to push someone new for the first time since 1997.  I guess that’ll be the real test.  (2011 Scott sez:  The guy they picked did OK for himself, at least, even if half the arena hates him at any one time.)

 

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 2003

The SmarK Rant for Survivor Series 2003

– Just to put things in perspective for this show, I was the only person to show up at my friend’s place to actually watch this one.  And usually there’s 6-8 people there.

– Live from Dallas, TX.

– Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz.

– Opening match:  John Cena, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Bradshaw & Hardcore Holly v. Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan & A-Train. 

Holly attacks Brock and gets DQ’d right off the bat.  Bradshaw gets the honorary “pin with a clothesline” on A-Train (okay, it’s a lariat, but still…) at 0:44 after Train misses a charge. Show comes in and chokeslams him at 1:03.  This is like a RAW match or something.  Cena comes in and tries an F-U on Show as things slow down a bit, and Lesnar pounds on Cena in the corner.  Brock misses a charge and Cena can’t overpower him, so he clips him instead.  Cena slugs away and gets a rollup for two.  Another one gets two.  Brock powers him down with a clothesline and he gets taken to the heel corner, as Morgan comes in with a headbutt and slugs him down.  Legdrop misses, but he gets a sideslam to complete the Nash Generic Moveset, bringing in Nathan Jones.  Oh, joy.  Nathan slugs him down with knees and yells a lot.  Brock pounds him down, but Cena comes back with the Throwback for two.  Benoit comes in and pounds Lesnar with chops and powers him down.  Man, they’re gonna have a hell of a PPV main event if they ever let them.  Brock hotshots him and gets a lariat, but opts to tag Show in instead of going for the pin.  It’s SURVIVOR SERIES.  A clothesline is a deadly move!  Show presses him and talks a lot.  Chokeslam, but Benoit reverses to the crossface, which Brock immediately breaks up.  Show goes to an abdominal stretch.  The size difference really makes that look like a silly visual.  Show does his goofy legdrop for two.  The heels engage in shenanigans behind the ref’s back, and it’s a brawl outside, Katie bar the door.  Back in, Morgan tags back in but misses a big boot and gets his knee dropkicked.  Benoit kicks him in the face and Angle comes in with a german suplex series on Morgan (welcome to the WWE, check your vertebrae at the door) and holds off Jones and Brock with more suplexes.  Heel miscommunication sees Jones booting Morgan by mistake (and slipping and falling on his ass) and the Angle slam gets rid of ½ of the dead weight at 9:21, as Morgan is gone.  More miscommunication disposes of Jones at 9:46 via anklelock.  Brock destroys Kurt with the F5 at 10:01, before the announcement can even be made.  Well, short night for Kurt, but it’s understandable.  Brock goes after Benoit and misses a charge, so Benoit works on the arm and whips him around the ring, but runs into an elbow in the corner.  Brock goes for the F5, but Benoit counters into the crossface, but Brock rolls him over for two.  Benoit is having none of that, and locks it back in again.  Brock makes the ropes.  Brock charges, but gets caught with another one, and this time he taps at 12:07.  We’ll see if it means anything in the long run.  (2011 Scott sez:  Nope.) So Show is left 2-on-1 and he slugs away on Benoit, but misses a clumsy charge and Benoit nails him with a flying shoulderblock from the top, for two.  He tries a crossface on Show, but he’s too big.  Cena gets tagged in by accident, as Show chokeslams Benoit, but Cena bops him with the chain and FUs him for the pin at 13:30 to finish.  Felt really rushed and most of the heel team dragged it down, as did the limited involvement of Kurt Angle.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Vince bumps into Shane and has a bizarre laugh-off with Austin.

Women’s title:  Molly Holly v. Lita. 

They reverse of a go-behind to start and Lita takes her down for two and gets a monkey-flip.  They head out and Molly gets sent into the apron, which gets two for Lita. Suplex and she goes for a flying headscissors, but Molly dumps her to the floor and sends her into the railing on a nice bump.  Back in, Molly gets two. Neckbreaker gets two.  We hit the chinlock and Lita fights out, but Molly switches to a dragon sleeper, giving a choice view of the cleavage.  Lita knees out of it, so Molly pounds her down again to set up the handspring elbow, which prompts JR to bring up the Great Muta.  Who’d have thunk that Muta’s name would get mentioned on WWE programming on a semi-regular basis?  (2011 Scott sez:  They should bring him in to book and wrestle, too.  Yeah, he can’t speak English, but lack of language skills doesn’t seem to be an impediment to writing RAW these days.)  Lita goes up with a sloppy high cross, for two.  Lita does some ludicrously weak punches in the corner and gets a rollup for two, but she walks into a sideslam for two.  Molly tries her own punches, but Lita powerbombs her out of the corner.  Well, that’s what happens when you trash-talk.  Lita fights back with an awkward Russian legsweep and goes up for the Litasault, which misses.  Molly Go Round hits, but only gets two.  Molly exposes a turnbuckle, sends Lita into it, and that’s enough to finish at 6:49.  All’s fair in love and Christmas sales.  Molly did her best with what she was given.  *1/2  The thing with Lita that sets her apart from the rest of the fairly-good women’s division right now is this, and this will probably sound obvious but bear with me:  With everyone else, they do what they can do, and don’t do what they can’t do.  Trish Stratus discovered her talent for gymnastic moves and high kicks, so that’s what she does.  Gail Kim was limited to a few moves, so they made her a heel and stuck her on the apron where she could come in for a hit-and-run attack.  But here you have Lita, who throws terrible punches (I mean, horrible, god-awful, Billy Gunn with a limp wrist punches) and stumbles through basic moves while on the comeback, and it makes her look bush-league because her comebacks are based on these terrible punches she’s never learned to throw.  What she needs to go super-basic and relearn the in-ring aspect.  For instance, she has GREAT, athletic legs, and she never uses them.  She should be out there kicking the shit out of the other girls with high kicks like Trish does or learning more martial-arts oriented offense so she can bring attention to her legs rather than her weak punches.  Trish can’t punch, so she doesn’t.  Neither should Lita.  If she did just that, eliminating the worst part of her offense and replacing it with a basic striking offense that’s easier to learn and more visually impressive, she would look like a better worker immediately and not like a 4th grader in a school play with high-schoolers.  But maybe that’s just me.  (2011 Scott sez:  As it turns out, she discovered her true talent was fucking over Matt Hardy and showing her awesome rack off, and she ended up as a main event draw with Edge as a result.  Go with what you know!)

– Ambulance Match:  Shane McMahon v. Kane.

Shane charges him to start and they tumble out of the ring, and Shane meets the stairs.  Kane takes a run at him with the stairs, but Shane retaliates with a STEEL chair and pounds him down.  Ever notice that every metallic object in wrestling, no matter what it might actually consist of, seems to be steel?  Steel railing, steel post, steel chair, steel shovel…etc.  Why not vary the atomic table a bit and have a titanium post, or a cobalt railing?  Kane gets put on the table and Shane drops the big elbow to break it.  They wander to the back and the camera cuts out (glitch #1), but another one cuts in as Shane runs away from Kane and then sneaks up on him with a kendo stick, with which he inflicts some damage.  Then, for laughs, he runs him over with an SUV.  Obviously we’ve been desensitized to cartoon violence, because that probably wouldn’t even get a two-count if pinfalls counted.  Shane barks “send it” into a walkie-talkie that appears out of nowhere (was he just carrying one, just in case?) and an ambulance (but not THE ambulance) appears, which Shane is unable to herd Kane into.  The camera cuts out again (glitch #2) and we switch to another one as the director informs us that he’s at the end of his rope via some stolen audio (glitch #3) as they keep fighting back into the arena again, where we’re at least fairly assured of the cameras remaining on the air.  Kane tosses him into the ambulance (but is it a STEEL ambulance?) as Shane takes some silly bumps and then comes back to ram Kane into it in turn.  It’s fiberglass, guys, quit being pussies.  Shane rams the back door into Kane’s head a couple of times, which at least could plausibly hurt.  Kane won’t go down, however, and boots Shane down.  Kane shoves him in, but can’t close the door.  Shane fights back, misses what was supposed to be a hurricane DDT off the ambulance, and then repeats the spot.  Sigh.  That’s the thing with non-wrestlers like Shane – if they blow something, they’re such slaves to the script that they can’t really make it up as they go along.  Shane cans him down and climbs the ambulance, but misses a dive and lands on a conveniently placed crash pad.  But was it a STEEL cardboard box?  I mean, come on, a CRASH PAD?  Apparently it was supposed to be a Van Terminator, but when you’re trying a Van Terminator off an ambulance onto a crash pad, it looks just a BIT  contrived.  They fight over the ambulance and Kane tosses him around a bit more and piledrives him on the concrete to put everyone out of their misery at13:29.  This was about 10 minutes too long for what they were trying to accomplish.  ½*

– Meanwhile, Brock bumps into Goldberg.

– The Coach comes out and makes fun of Mark Cuban in the front row, prompting a verbal showdown in the ring between Cuban and Eric Bischoff, but Randy Orton comes in and delivers an RKO to him, which Cuban sells better than half the roster.  Honest.  Total waste of PPV time, regardless.

– Meanwhile, Evolution parties with hookers.  I’m sure Steph appreciates that.

 – Smackdown tag titles:  The Basham Brothers v. Los Guerreros.

The Guerreros clean house to start, and Chavo elbows down Danny.  Eddie comes in and stomps away in the corner, setting up the rolling verticals for two.  Chavo gets a seated dropkick for two.  Eddie slingshots in for two.  Double headscissors on the Bashams, but they get a double-hotshot to take over on him.  This is apparently a “classic Bashams double-team” according to Cole.  They’ve been around for long enough to have a classic double-team? (2011 Scott sez:  VINTAGE BASHAMS!)  Eddie gets harassed outside the ring, and back in Doug gets two.  Double slingshot suplex gets two.  Good double-team move.  Doug hits the chinlock, but Eddie escapes with a headscissors, allowing the hot tag to Chavo.  He cleans house with the usual generic babyface stuff and a sideslam gets two.  Bashams fire back with a flapjack on him, but Eddie breaks up a double-powerbomb attempt and brings Doug down with a rana from the top for two.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Eddie gets dumped, leaving Chavo to fend for himself with a double-clothesline.  The Bashams do the switcheroo as Chavo goes after Shaniqua and Eddie frog splashes her, and they spank her.  Is this really necessary?  The Bashams attack again, but Chavo kicks Eddie by mistake, the Bashams switch again, and Danny pins Chavo with a rollup at 7:32.  Turned into a big mess at the end, and the stuff with Shaniqua wasn’t necessary.  **  (2011 Scott sez:  They really flushed away whatever Doug Basham could have brought to the table.  Danny not so much, but Doug had something special in OVW.)

 – Booker T, Bubba Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Rob Van Dam & Shawn Michaels v. Mark Henry, Scott Steiner, Chris Jericho, Christian & Randy Orton.

The teams don’t even get separate entrances, and poor Booker T doesn’t even get an introduction, period!  JR rambles about Fabio and giving “mad props” making people stale characters.  If ANYONE shouldn’t talk about being stale, it’s that announce team.  D-Von & Christian exchange headlocks as JR desperately tries to get “CLB” over again.  (2011 Scott sez:  Creepy Little Bastard is trending worldwide on Twitter!) D-Von slugs away on the mat and gets a clothesline for two.  Man, again someone kicks out of a clothesline.  What kind of Survivor Series is this?  Where’s Ted Dibiase to pin guys with his feet on the ropes when you need him?  RVD comes in with a spinkick for two, but Jericho dropkicks him and slugs away.  Rob mulekicks him and pounds away in the corner, into a northern lights suplex for two. Jericho gets the enzuigiri for two.  Steiner comes in and pounds him in the corner, but Rob spinkicks him for two.  Another one misses and Steiner uses the banned overhead suplex (which JR specifically calls dangerous, usually a giveaway), and a belly-to-belly gets two.  (2011 Scott sez:  Whatever happened to that suplex ban, I wonder?)  He charges and misses, but Rob goes up and gets crotched, allowing Steiner to get an overhead superplex for two.  Booker tags in, however, and slugs away on Steiner, but gets elbowed down.  Booker comes back with the axe kick and decides to Spinarooni.  Spinebuster on Steiner gets two, and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA.  Steiner gets the Recliner, but the Dudleyz break it up with a double-team neckbreaker and the Bookend finishes Steiner at 7:28.  Henry bodyslams Booker for the pin at 7:53.  Poor Booker gets to job in Texas again.  Henry overpowers RVD with a clothesline but Bubba tags in and slugs away, but can’t overpower Henry.  Well, duh.  Henry chokes him out.  Henry whips him around and overpowers both Dudley Boyz, then goes after D-Von.  He misses a charge and walks into 3D at 10:03. Jericho pounds RVD down and chops away in the corner, but Rob moonsaults him for two.  Orton comes in for the first time and misses a charge, but comes back with a nice clothesline out of the corner for two.  He misses another charge (maybe he should stop charging) and RVD gets Rolling Thunder and pops up, but Jericho pushes him off the top, into an RKO at 12:06.  D-Von goes next and gets a legdrop for two.  Sideslam and flying headbutt get two. Jericho makes a blind tag but runs into D-Von on the way in, but comes back with a missile dropkick for two.  He misses a charge and D-Von shoulderblocks him, but Jericho gets the Flashback at 13:50.  So we’re 3-on-2, as Bubba charges and misses, but comes back with a sideslam for two.  Shawn comes in for the first time and chops away in the corner to set up the pummeling, fighting off Christian, but Jericho trips him up and brings Orton back in, who gets two.  Orton stomps away, but misses a dropkick (although he’s so tall that he caught Shawn in the mouth inadvertently), and tags abound.  Bubba holds off the heels as Christian is legal, and he gets hotshot and backdropped for two.  Bubba gets a samoan drop on Orton and Flips and Flops on Jericho, but can’t fly. Jericho goes low, and Christian hits the Unprettier for the pin at 16:50.  So it’s Shawn 1-on-3, which is exactly how you want it – tough enough odds to make it unlikely he’ll win, but not so ridiculous that he can’t.  Shawn fights off the heels and slugs Christian, but gets dumped, and this is where the match officially gets awesome, for those keeping track.  The heels pound him outside and Orton takes over in the ring, stomping away.  Christian works him over in the corner, but Shawn fights back, only to get dragged out of the ring by Jericho and catapulted into the post by Christian, drawing blood.  And it’s a doozy, too.  Crimson mask, stuck pig, pick your cliché.  Christian suplexes him back in for two.  He fights back but Christian goes for the Unprettier again, only to walk into a superkick and get pinned at 20:30, although Shawn basically just fell back on him by a fluke. Jericho tries next, beating the holy spirit out of Shawn in the corner, but he keeps fighting back. Jericho gets a clothesline for two.  Orton pounds him down and chokes away, but walks into a sleeper.  Orton suplexes out without too much trouble, and Jericho gets two off that.  Shawn comes back with a DDT out of the corner, but he doesn’t have enough to make the cover.  Finally he gets a hot two, but Orton saves.  Shawn dumps him to take him out of the equation, and Jericho misses the Lionsault, and Shawn is still out.  Shawn finally fights out, but misses the superkick and Jericho goes for the Walls, countered to the rollup for the pin at 23:56, leaving Shawn v. Orton. Jericho, sportsman, lays out Michaels with a chair afterwards.  I hope Trish wasn’t watching.  Orton pulls himself back into the ring and covers, but only gets two.  Orton goes up and wipes out the referee as a result, so Shawn goes for the superkick.  Bischoff runs in and kicks Shawn down, so Austin gets pissed off and stunners Orton.  From here either result is equally likely, which is why it’s great booking, but they go the heel route, and Batista runs in, delivers a powerbomb to Michaels, and Orton ends Austin’s GM job at 27:27.  This was great drama, with a superhuman effort from Shawn Michaels, and the great thing is that he was never booked like superman – he was booked as a guy getting his ass kicked who got two fluke pins and only would have won with the help of Austin, but the heels outsmarted Austin at his own game and Shawn lost the match.  The match wasn’t much before the 3-on-1 sequence, but everything after was just amazing, Match of the Year Candidate level stuff from Michaels.  **** Austin helps him up and I wait for the stunner, but none comes.  He says his goodbyes and beats up Coach as I’m pressed for time and thus fast-forward.  He’ll be back within a couple of weeks, either on RAW via a loophole or on Smackdown as the new GM, and I think we all know it.  (2011 Scott sez:  SHERIFF AUSTIN!)

 – Buried Alive:  Vince McMahon v. Undertaker.

Again I ask, how can this be Undertaker’s specialty when he’s never WON one of them?  Taker punches Vince to start, and he immediately taps an artery, doing a sick, gory bladejob that immediately makes Shawn’s seem less special.  Taker slugs away and Vince bleeds, and that’s pretty much all there is to the match.  Taker crotches him on the post, and Vince bleeds.  A lot.  Over to the other side of the ring, and Vince gets posted again.  Taker works on the leg, god knows why.  Taker keeps slugging on the cut and chokes him out with the cable as Cole points out that it’s for the threats made against Taker’s wife.  You know, in all fairness to Vince, Undertaker kidnapped and tried to rape Stephanie 4 years before Vince threatened to do the same to Sara Undertaker.  Taker keeps pounding away as the match drags on, going nowhere, and they head back into the ring.  Taker heads over to the grave and gets a STEEL shovel (see what I mean about shiny objects?) and nails Vince with it, unimpressively.  Back to the floor, as Taker puts his ankle on the stairs and slams the other stair onto it.  Hey, 1998 called, it wants its angles back.  Is Undertaker in cahoots with Kane, too?  (2011 Scott sez:  Eventually, yes, I believe he was again.) Taker finally carries Vince over to the grave, but Vince throws dirt at him and goes low, his only offense for the match.  He sends Taker into the grave, but Taker pulls him in and goes for the backhoe, but Kane’s pyro goes off, and Kane appears.  Undertaker is apparently paralyzed with fear or something, and falls into the grave, allowing Kane to bring Vince out and Vince to get into the backhoe and drop the dirt on Undertaker at11:59.  The finish was ridiculously anticlimactic and took forever to set up.  And with all the deaths in wrestling this year, do we really need matches where the object is to bury your opponent in a fake grave, complete with tombstone?  DUD  No one stops to ask if Taker is still, say, alive, and we move on to the next match.  I guess it was just symbolic burial.

 – RAW World title:  Goldberg v. HHH.

HHH is looking very bloated and out-of-shape.  I mean, it’s really noticeable.  Goldberg attacks him to start and gets a spear even before the bell, then goes after Flair too, and he dumps HHH.  They brawl outside and HHH meets the stairs a few times and gets dropped on the railing.  Back in, powerslam and Goldberg goes for a press slam, but the injured ankle gives way and HHH goes for it with a chop block.  Goldberg gets tossed and HHH works the ankle with a chair and Flair posts the ankle, and they head back in for another chop block.  HHH keeps stomping the ankle and Flair adds some cheapshots.  Choking follows.  Goldberg bails and Flair attacks the ankle, and they head back in, where HHH drops a knee on the ankle and goes to a half-crab.  Goldberg is under the ropes, however.  HHH tries to post him, but Goldberg powers off.  HHH goes right back to the ankle again, but Goldberg comes out of the corner with a clothesline.  He goes for another slam and HHH awkwardly escapes with another chop block, setting up a figure-four.  Goldberg blocks and the ref is bumped as a result, so HHH gets some brass knux from Flair.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.  HHH clocks Goldberg for two, and then elbowdrops the ref out of spite.  He retrieves his trusty sledgehammer, but walks into a boot from Goldberg.  Flair gets slammed off the top, as usual, and Goldberg fights them both off, but now the rest of Evolution comes in and gets sledged by Goldberg.  HHH catches him with a Pedigree attempt, but Goldberg backdrops out, symbolically tosses down the hammer, and ops to finish with the spear and jackhammer instead at 11:41.  Well, they sure booked him strong tonight, I’ll give ‘em that.  Match wasn’t good or anything, but hopefully it helped Goldberg.  If HHH really wants to be the bigger man, he’ll let himself get punked out by Orton tonight and then take his vacation to Hollywood.  *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  C’mon, The Chaperone isn’t gonna make itself!)

The Bottom Line:

The booking and effort were strong, but there was too much talking and dead space in the middle, especially with matches involving people named McMahon, so even with Shawn’s miracle performance I can’t go any higher than thumbs in the middle.

With Undertaker,Austin, Rock and HHH all gone, however, the main event scene will be forced to push someone new for the first time since 1997.  I guess that’ll be the real test.  (2011 Scott sez:  The guy they picked did OK for himself, at least, even if half the arena hates him at any one time.)

 

 

Survivor Series Countdown: 2002

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2002

– Live from Monosodium glutamate

– Your host is Tazz King Cole Jr.

  Opening match:  Three Minute Warning v. Jeff Hardy & The Dudley Boyz.

The Dudleyz clean house to start and Spike gets pressed onto the samoans, and Jeff follows them out with a dive onto everyone.  In the ring, Rico pounds on Bubba while Spike hits a samoan with a rana.  They hit the Wazzup drop on both Rico and Jamal and get the tables.  Tyler’s idea: 3MW should do like the Killer Bees and change shirts at some point in the match, thus guaranteeing confusion for the referee.  Rosie faceplants Spike and dumps Jeff, thus crushing the hopes of fans everywhere.  He charges Spike in the corner, but misses and puts himself through a table.  He then no-sells his own offense and hits Bubba with a spinebuster, then catches Jeff in mid-air in a terrible looking spot, and splashes him.  Rico sets up a table and tries to suplex Spike through it, but it gets blocked.  3MW team up to put him through and eliminate him about 4:30 or so.  The remaining faces are set up to be splashed to death, but they make the comeback until getting overwhelmed by the awesome force of Samoa.  Rosie drags Jeff into the crowd and sets up a table in the aisle, while heel miscommunication in the ring results in Jamal taking a BubbaBomb.  Bubba saves Jeff from certain table-dom, and Jeff climbs over the exit and puts Rosie through the table at 8:00.  Great, but we already saw that spot at Rumble 2000, in the same building no less.  Back in the ring, Rico and Jamal double-team Bubba and Rico goes up for the moonsault, but takes forever and audibly calls out “C’mon Jeff goddammit!” while waiting for Jeff to trip him up.  Of course, that’s just what happens, and Jeff hits Jamal with the corkscrew and Jamal bails.  Jeff follows him out and does the most pathetic railrunner I’ve seen in a while, nearly slipping and breaking his neck in mid-move.  Get this guy off TV, seriously.  Jamal puts him on a fresh table and splashes him through it to finish the elimination at 11:00.  It was time for Jeff to go beddy-bye anyway.  So Bubba is left 2-on-1, and he hammers on Rico in the ring and puts him on a table, but Jamal saves him, stalls for a while, and then follows Bubba to the top and gets powerbombed through the table at 12:00 in a move so obvious that he might as well have sent everyone in the audience a telegram saying “Dear audience (stop) I am about to get powerbombed through this table (stop)  PS I am fat and talentless (stop)”.  Jamal however, rebel to the end, will not leave, and hits Bubba with a belly to belly suplex, and Rosie joins them.  JR protests the poor sportsmanship, but D-Von Dudley returns to the Dudley fold and cleans house on the heels, before setting up Rico and helping Bubba to hit 3D at 14:19.  Well, that was certainly the right move on the WWE’s part – the singles pushes weren’t going anywhere and they knew it.  Match was okay, but the sloppiness from Jeff and the samoans hurt it a lot.  **3/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I would not have bet in a million years that Jamal would actually go on to be a big star and his death would be a huge loss to the industry.)

– Saliva plays “Always” at the World.  That album is pretty tough to find up here for some reason.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s still hard to find, but that’s mainly because no one gives a shit about Saliva anymore)

  Jobberweight title:  Jamie Noble v. Billy Kidman.

Newer, crappier music for Kidman tonight.  Kidman gets a fast rollup for one, and another one for two.  Rana gets one.  Noble takes a well-advised breather, and catches Kidman on the chase to take over.  Kidman’s rebound lariat is reversed to the neckbreaker by Noble for two.  Noble chokes him out and goes to the surfboard.  Rumor du jour:  Noble is cheating on his wife with Nidia in real life.  (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing to that one.)  Kidman gets dumped and Noble follows with a tope, and back in, he goes up but gets dropkicked on the way down.  They slug it out and Kidman gets an elbow and a dropkick to come back, but Noble switches under into a pumphandle, which Kidman reverses to a DVD-neckbreaker for two.  Nice little sequence there.  Noble comes back with a Falcon Arrow for two. Kidman gets a reverse Falcon Arrow and goes up for the SSP, but Nidia pulls Noble to safety, which allows Kidman to follow him out with a plancha.  Sadly the crowd isn’t into any of this.  Kidman springboards back in with a legdrop for two.  Noble’s powerbomb is reversed by Kidman, but Nidia trips him up.  This backfires as the heels collide and Kidman gets the Rydien Bomb for two.  Kidman tries a powerbomb, but you can’t powerbomb Noble either, and they go into a swank powerbomb reversal sequence that leads to Noble getting the tigerbomb for two.  Noble charges and gets nothing, and Kidman goes up, but Noble follows him up.  They fight up there and Kidman wins that battle with a top rope X-Factor that gets two.  Noble hangs Kidman on the top and DDTs him out of the corner for two.  That’s just insanely vicious.  Kidman immediately shrugs it off, however, and gets an enzuigiri to set up the Shooting Star Press, but Noble blocks it.  He goes back down, however, and it’s sayonara at 7:28.  Kidman no-selling the DDT was kind of typical of the cruiserweights in general, so I’m not gonna harp on that too much, but it was SUCH a vicious move that he should have been dead, or at least selling the neck or something.  **1/2

– Meanwhile, Angle & Benoit share another hug, which is not exactly welcomed by Benoit.

Women’s title:  Trish Stratus v. Victoria.

This is hardcore rules.  Man, we’ve sure had a lot of those matches after the “last ever hardcore match”, haven’t we?  Victoria attacks to start and chokes out Trish, then grabs a broom from the conveniently placed trashcans o’ plunder.  Trish avoids the broom, but gets choked out with it.  Note to camerapeople:  Don’t zoom in on the six inches of space between the broom and Trish’s throat.  Trish snapmares her with the broom to escape, and grabs a lid, but gets broomed again.  They head out and Trish meets a trashcan, and back in we go. Victoria slingshots in with a legdrop for two.  She puts a trashcan into the corner (the wrong way), but gets catapulted into it instead.  That gets two for Trish.  I won’t even mention the strange golf shot with the trashcan.  An ironing board gets set up (in theory) by Trish and Victoria runs into it, and the Kawada kick gets two.  Trish canes her, but Victoria counters with a lid and goes up, but Trish takes her down with the lid.  They fight out and Victoria meets the stairs.  Back in, Victoria powerbombs her, and then finds a mirror outside.  Trish gives her another kick on the way in, another one gets two.  Victoria comes back with a weak cane shot, and Trish gets the worst bulldog ever for two.  That was just embarrassing, even by woman’s wrestling standards.  Victoria gets the FIRE EXTINGUISHER OF DOOM and suplexes her for the pin and the title at 7:00.  There was some good stuff in there and it was better than, say, Terri v. Stacy, but it pretty much fell apart once they went past the 5:00 mark.  **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I have really fond memories of this match for some reason.  Huh.)

Smackdown World title:  Brock Lesnar v. The Big Show.

Brock gets quite the monster pop.  MSG does love their big muscleheaded lugs.  Show goes for the ribs to start and gets a hiptoss, but Brock takes him down and pounds away.  They head out and Show posts Brock, and back in Brock gets a suplex where Show barely even leaves the mat.  C’mon, even Andre was able to take a bodyslam.  Show charges and misses, and Brock gets another suplex, as Show again is unable to take the bump properly.  F5 is blocked with a knee, and the ref is bumped in record time.  Overhead suplex and F5 (and a beauty too) look to finish , but Heyman pulls out the ref at two, and we have a heel turn.  Show chokeslams Lesnar on the chair for the pin and the title at 4:18  .  Note to aspiring wrestlers:  If you want to guarantee yourself a run at the top, make sure to weigh 500 pounds after being repeatedly asked to get down to 350, then wrestle the champion in a house show match and injure him right before a PPV where you’re the lame duck challenger of the month.  I assume (and this is probably a big assumption at this point) that the WWE braintrust is at least smart enough to know that Show needs to lose the title right away because he won’t be able to go more than 5:00 in a PPV main event, but god knows if they were smart they wouldn’t have booked themselves into a corner by having Show be the challenger of the month to begin with.  I mean, give your rationalizations and excuses about Brock’s injuries and “viable challengers” and blah blah blah but at the end of the day you have to go to sleep at night knowing that the FUCKING BIG SHOW is champion again.  I mean, really now, Big Show is the champion of the World again.  What the fuck?  You’ve got six guys floundering around in the tag team division who could be interchanging in the main events for the next four months with (I’m 150% sure) just as good a chance to pop a buyrate as Lesnar or Big Show has, so why not GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A CHANCE FOR ONCE?  People are digging this Benoit-Angle stuff, so let them run with the title for a couple of PPVs.  It’s not like Lesnar has been hot shit in terms of money drawn anyway.  I hate to start laying blame on a guy who’s only been pushed since June, but house shows HAVE been a total disaster since he won the title. Somebody’s gotta say it, and it might as well be me.  *  (2011 Scott sez:  In fact, they DID put the title on Angle right away, and let him run with a Benoit program, and it was pretty awesome.  Go me.)

Smackdown tag title match:  Edge & Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle v. Los Guerreros.

This is elimination rules.  Chavo makes sure to lay down the law to everyone before the match, then opts out of the match. Mysterio starts with Benoit, and gets CHOPPED.  You have to capitalize it for full effect.  Rey snaps off a rana and flapjacks him, and Edge comes in for a double-team hiptoss and some elbows.  Benoit comes back with more chops and brings in Angle, who immediately gets backdropped and tags in Chavo instead.  Edge takes him down and gets a dropkick, and Rey comes in with the falling splash for two.  Chavo tries a powerbomb, but Rey reverses to an armdrag.  Eddy comes in to take care of business, however, and pounds on Rey Rey.  Rey comes back with a flying headscissors and a monkey flip, so Eddy tags Angle again.  Kurt hammers on Rey, but gets headscissored.  He charges and misses, and Rey’s alley-oop to the top is blown, as he slips and falls onto the mat.  That’s pretty rare for Rey.  Angle suplex gets two.  Benoit gets a standing neckbreaker and a vicious backdrop suplex for two.  Angle gets his own backdrop suplex for two.  Angle gives Edge a cheapshot and tries the Angle Slam on Rey, but it’s reversed.  Angle hits him with a clothesline to recover and gets two.  Benoit gives Rey a knee to the gut and snaps a suplex for two.  I should point out that if you stare at Rey’s tights long enough, you can see a sailboat.  Or maybe it’s the Statue of Liberty – I was never good at those 3D puzzle things.  Angle hits the facelock, and counters a reversal attempt by Rey.  Rey fights out and gets a leg lariat, and everyone’s out.  The Guerreros decline the tag from Angle, so Benoit gets it instead.  Hot tag Edge, and he’s a heel-killing machine. Faceplant for Benoit and overhead suplex for Angle, as Eddy & Rey tumble over the top rope.  Edge goes for the spear, but lands into a crossface- anklelock combo that’s so awesome that it deserves it’s own spot in the Hall of Awesome.  Rey breaks it up as Angle bails, and hits a bunch of people with a spinning tope.  Meanwhile, Benoit suplexes Edge, until Eddy hits a sunset flip on Benoit while Benoit carries Edge over with a german suplex, and gets two.  That’s insane.  Benoit goes right back to suplexing Edge, but the hair saves Edge from permanent brain damage.  Benoit goes up, but Eddy sneaks in with a frog splash for two, so Benoit hits him with the headbutt instead.  Angle Slam for Eddy and anklelock, while Benoit puts Edge in the crossface, but the ref is distracted.  Chavo lays out Benoit with the belt and gives it to Angle, thus convincing Benoit that Angle did the deed.  More shoving results, and Edge finishes Benoit with the spear at 13:08.  Crowd kinda didn’t like that one, actually.  Angle, hero of sportsmanship, destroys Edge with a suplex afterwards, and Benoit takes out his problems on Chavo.  God’s Team fights back to the dressing room, while Eddy tries to steal a fall on Edge.  Los Guerreros work Edge over in the corner, and Chavo gets two.  Eddy’s senton gets two.  Main Event Sleeper wastes some time, and Chavo gets a dropkick for two.  Eddy uses the tag rope for some choking, and a backdrop suplex follows.  We go back to the facelock again.  Chavo dropkicks him for two.  Edge comes back with a flapjack on both of them, and makes the hot tag to Mysterio.  Crossbody for Chavo and a tilt-a-whirl for Eddy, and the heels collide to set up an alley-oop rana on Eddy that gets two.  Edge dumps Chavo, and does a sloppy reversal sequence with Eddy to set up the 619, but the ref is distracted, allowing Chavo to hit Rey with the belt.  Lasso From El Paso finishes at 19:25.  That beltshot finish is kinda played, to say the least.  This was pretty disappointing, but in a “weak Smackdown” way rather than a “weak RAW” kind of way.  One problem Heyman has is giving away the great matches on free TV and then not being able to top them on PPV, where it counts.  This really should have had 40-45 minutes, given the buildup for it. ***1/2

Chris Nowinski and Matt Hardy come out and cut brutally stupid anti-New York promos until Scott Steiner destroys them, just to show where the pecking order is once and for all.

Fake World title, Elimination Chamber:  HHH v. Shawn Michaels v. Four Other Guys Who Don’t Matter.

Might as well tell it like it is.  It’s a big round cage with a raised platform running flush with the ring apron, and four plexiglass cages holding the guys not immediately involved in the match.  Bischoff calls it “bulletproof” glass, but is careful not to actually TOUCH it, for reasons that will become apparent later.  I would be remiss in not noting how gay HBK is looking tonight, complete with his girlish haircut, tights-and-cowboy-boots look, and 120 pound frame.  I mean, seriously, I’m not one to advocate drug use, but sometimes you need to shoot up with roids in order to give the match SOME degree of cred.  I’ve seen Jeff Hardy look more butch than Shawn.  HHH and RVD start the match, with five-minute intervals for the other guys.  The small bolt holding the main door shut reminds me of the Rhino cages on the Simpsons.  Rob gets a leg lariat to start, and kicks away.  HHH comes back by USING THE KNEE, and gets backdropped onto the grating while trying the Pedigree. Rob stomps him down and sends him into the main door a couple of times, breaking the high-quality lock clean off.  So much for craftsmanship.  Rob monkey-flips him onto the grating (it kinda detracts from the intensity when you do three flips before a move), and gets Rolling Thunder onto the grating.  Back into the ring, Rob climbs above Jericho’s cage (you have to question THAT wisdom) and of course gets tripped up as a result.  They head back down again as Rob gets a sloppy somersault dive off the cage, only making contact in a general sense.  HHH eats the cage again and they head back in, as Jericho joins us after the first interval.  Rob hits him with a leg lariat and a standing moonsault for two.  Springboard dropkick and Rob dumps Jericho, then follows him out with a dive that misses.  He grabs the cage like Spider-Man (as noted by JR and King), and follows Jericho back in.  HHH nails him with a lariat, however.  Jericho hits RVD with a backdrop suplex, but Rob fights back on both heels.  Jericho hits him with a senton for two.  HHH tosses Rob again and they ram him into the cage and generally beat him down.  HHH whips Jericho into Rob, but it misses and Rob hits both of them with kicks to come back.  HHH DDTs him as we await the entrance of Booker T to hopefully get this thing moving a little faster.  Booker cleans house and stops for a Spinarooni, then does a sequence with RVD that ends with a spinkick that gets two for Booker.  Rob spinkicks him for two.  Blind charge misses and Booker sidekicks him for two.  HHH comes back in, but gets axe kicked.  RVD goes up to the top of an empty cage for the frog splash, but physics is NOT his friend, as he runs out of room and blows the move, driving his knee into HHH’s throat as a result.  Hebner gives the dreaded “X” sign to indicate legitimate injury, and HHH takes a breather while Booker hits Rob with a missile dropkick for the pin at 13:39.  I think RVD blew out his knee on that move, too.  Booker covers HHH for two.  Jericho chops away on Booker and bulldogs him, but misses the Lionsault and gets hit with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. Booker gets two, and Kane is in next.  Weird thing:  The order of entrance into the ring is the same as the order of entrance into the match.  Kane gives Booker a corner clothesline and tosses Jericho into the cage.  Next stop: The plexiglass, which turns out to be less bulletproof than advertised.  Kane pounds on HHH  and blocks Booker’s sidekick, then chokeslams him. Jericho Lionsaults Booker for the pin at 17:40.  Note to everyone still holding out hope for a Booker push:  Give it up.  Kane and Jericho fight on the cage and Jericho gets slammed back into the ring, while HHH lies around and bleeds.  You know, if HHH was injured, he should have just been a professional and bowed out of the match early and actually put someone over rather than waiting to give the Almighty Rub of God to his best friend.  Kane slams HHH off the top, but Jericho goes low and gives him a missile dropkick.  Shawn arrives on the scene and cleans house (which is a pretty ridiculous visual given the size difference) and hits Kane with the flying forearm.  JR’s assessment:  “He’s not quick, he’s sudden” Well, that certainly clears it up.  Kane chokes Jericho down and chokeslams everyone, but goes for exactly zero pins.  A superkick, a Pedigree and a Lionsault later and Kane is gone at 22:52.  Poor Kane is always booked to look like an incompetent boob, and they wonder why he never gets over. Jericho sends Shawn into the cage a few times and opens a cut (using verbal encouragement for good measure), and HHH tosses Shawn.  Some cheese grater action results.  Back in, Jericho abuses Shawn while HHH does nothing, but looks REALLY INTENSE while doing it.  Shawn fights back and goes for a piledriver on the grating, but Jericho backdrops out of it. Back in, Shawn hits HHH with his forearm (time to update the moveset, Shawn, it’s the 21st century), but gets Lionsaulted for two.  Shawn gets a moonsault press for two. He puts Jericho in a Boston Crab, but HHH DDTs Shawn to break it, and Jericho gets two.  The heels fight over the pin and HHH uses the knee for two.  Pedigree is reversed to the Walls, but Shawn superkicks him to break it, which was a pretty obvious spot.  Jericho is gonzo at 30:44.  HHH & Shawn slug it out, and HHH gets the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two.  Shawn charges and gets dumped, but they fight over the Pedigree and Shawn gets catapulted into the plexiglass. Back in, HHH gets two.  They slug it out again and HHH gets yet another facebuster and dumps Shawn.  I think they’re running out of spots to use tonight.  Another Pedigree attempt is reversed to yet another catapult, which is like the fifth one in the match.  Nice bald spot, Shawn.  Back in, Shawn goes up and drops the big elbow off the cage, almost adding his contribution to the “kill HHH fund” in the process, and the band is warming up.  He passes a move to HHH via Hebner on-camera, telling him to tell HHH to block the first one.  And indeed, HHH blocks it and hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but doesn’t go for the pin.  He finally gets two.  Another try is reversed by Shawn to the superkick, and he wins the title at 39:21.  I am astonished (well, not REALLY) that they would buy into this Shawn nostalgia crap when he’s actively tanking ratings and wasn’t a draw to begin with.  Irony of course struck hard here, as HHH set things up to give himself a rematch next month, but suffered a crushed larynx in the process and thus probably won’t be able to get his title back yet.  Oh well, if HHH can’t talk for a month, it’s a small price to pay.  Match was, shall we say, dramatically sound in the last 10 minutes, but it was just so darn LONG that I can’t recommend bothering to watch it, and HHH’s performance was pretty useless.  Guess he needs to learn how to work injured.  ***1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I was very happy to be proven totally wrong about Shawn Michaels.  Although HHH winning the title back was a pretty dull match.)  

The Bottom Line:

I’m not even really sure what I thought of this show – everything was pretty okay at the very least, but the booking choices were so retarded that it hampered my enjoyment a lot.  And we can forget about seeing the Elimination Chamber again, I think – logistically speaking, it’s just too complex and the payoff isn’t worth it.

Call it thumbs up for the work but thumbs down for the booking, and we’ll compromise and say thumbs in the middle leaning up.

Survivor Series Countdown: 2002

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2002

– Live from Monosodium glutamate

– Your host is Tazz King Cole Jr.

  Opening match:  Three Minute Warning v. Jeff Hardy & The Dudley Boyz.

The Dudleyz clean house to start and Spike gets pressed onto the samoans, and Jeff follows them out with a dive onto everyone.  In the ring, Rico pounds on Bubba while Spike hits a samoan with a rana.  They hit the Wazzup drop on both Rico and Jamal and get the tables.  Tyler’s idea: 3MW should do like the Killer Bees and change shirts at some point in the match, thus guaranteeing confusion for the referee.  Rosie faceplants Spike and dumps Jeff, thus crushing the hopes of fans everywhere.  He charges Spike in the corner, but misses and puts himself through a table.  He then no-sells his own offense and hits Bubba with a spinebuster, then catches Jeff in mid-air in a terrible looking spot, and splashes him.  Rico sets up a table and tries to suplex Spike through it, but it gets blocked.  3MW team up to put him through and eliminate him about 4:30 or so.  The remaining faces are set up to be splashed to death, but they make the comeback until getting overwhelmed by the awesome force of Samoa.  Rosie drags Jeff into the crowd and sets up a table in the aisle, while heel miscommunication in the ring results in Jamal taking a BubbaBomb.  Bubba saves Jeff from certain table-dom, and Jeff climbs over the exit and puts Rosie through the table at 8:00.  Great, but we already saw that spot at Rumble 2000, in the same building no less.  Back in the ring, Rico and Jamal double-team Bubba and Rico goes up for the moonsault, but takes forever and audibly calls out “C’mon Jeff goddammit!” while waiting for Jeff to trip him up.  Of course, that’s just what happens, and Jeff hits Jamal with the corkscrew and Jamal bails.  Jeff follows him out and does the most pathetic railrunner I’ve seen in a while, nearly slipping and breaking his neck in mid-move.  Get this guy off TV, seriously.  Jamal puts him on a fresh table and splashes him through it to finish the elimination at 11:00.  It was time for Jeff to go beddy-bye anyway.  So Bubba is left 2-on-1, and he hammers on Rico in the ring and puts him on a table, but Jamal saves him, stalls for a while, and then follows Bubba to the top and gets powerbombed through the table at 12:00 in a move so obvious that he might as well have sent everyone in the audience a telegram saying “Dear audience (stop) I am about to get powerbombed through this table (stop)  PS I am fat and talentless (stop)”.  Jamal however, rebel to the end, will not leave, and hits Bubba with a belly to belly suplex, and Rosie joins them.  JR protests the poor sportsmanship, but D-Von Dudley returns to the Dudley fold and cleans house on the heels, before setting up Rico and helping Bubba to hit 3D at 14:19.  Well, that was certainly the right move on the WWE’s part – the singles pushes weren’t going anywhere and they knew it.  Match was okay, but the sloppiness from Jeff and the samoans hurt it a lot.  **3/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I would not have bet in a million years that Jamal would actually go on to be a big star and his death would be a huge loss to the industry.)

– Saliva plays “Always” at the World.  That album is pretty tough to find up here for some reason.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s still hard to find, but that’s mainly because no one gives a shit about Saliva anymore)

  Jobberweight title:  Jamie Noble v. Billy Kidman.

Newer, crappier music for Kidman tonight.  Kidman gets a fast rollup for one, and another one for two.  Rana gets one.  Noble takes a well-advised breather, and catches Kidman on the chase to take over.  Kidman’s rebound lariat is reversed to the neckbreaker by Noble for two.  Noble chokes him out and goes to the surfboard.  Rumor du jour:  Noble is cheating on his wife with Nidia in real life.  (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing to that one.)  Kidman gets dumped and Noble follows with a tope, and back in, he goes up but gets dropkicked on the way down.  They slug it out and Kidman gets an elbow and a dropkick to come back, but Noble switches under into a pumphandle, which Kidman reverses to a DVD-neckbreaker for two.  Nice little sequence there.  Noble comes back with a Falcon Arrow for two. Kidman gets a reverse Falcon Arrow and goes up for the SSP, but Nidia pulls Noble to safety, which allows Kidman to follow him out with a plancha.  Sadly the crowd isn’t into any of this.  Kidman springboards back in with a legdrop for two.  Noble’s powerbomb is reversed by Kidman, but Nidia trips him up.  This backfires as the heels collide and Kidman gets the Rydien Bomb for two.  Kidman tries a powerbomb, but you can’t powerbomb Noble either, and they go into a swank powerbomb reversal sequence that leads to Noble getting the tigerbomb for two.  Noble charges and gets nothing, and Kidman goes up, but Noble follows him up.  They fight up there and Kidman wins that battle with a top rope X-Factor that gets two.  Noble hangs Kidman on the top and DDTs him out of the corner for two.  That’s just insanely vicious.  Kidman immediately shrugs it off, however, and gets an enzuigiri to set up the Shooting Star Press, but Noble blocks it.  He goes back down, however, and it’s sayonara at 7:28.  Kidman no-selling the DDT was kind of typical of the cruiserweights in general, so I’m not gonna harp on that too much, but it was SUCH a vicious move that he should have been dead, or at least selling the neck or something.  **1/2

– Meanwhile, Angle & Benoit share another hug, which is not exactly welcomed by Benoit.

Women’s title:  Trish Stratus v. Victoria.

This is hardcore rules.  Man, we’ve sure had a lot of those matches after the “last ever hardcore match”, haven’t we?  Victoria attacks to start and chokes out Trish, then grabs a broom from the conveniently placed trashcans o’ plunder.  Trish avoids the broom, but gets choked out with it.  Note to camerapeople:  Don’t zoom in on the six inches of space between the broom and Trish’s throat.  Trish snapmares her with the broom to escape, and grabs a lid, but gets broomed again.  They head out and Trish meets a trashcan, and back in we go. Victoria slingshots in with a legdrop for two.  She puts a trashcan into the corner (the wrong way), but gets catapulted into it instead.  That gets two for Trish.  I won’t even mention the strange golf shot with the trashcan.  An ironing board gets set up (in theory) by Trish and Victoria runs into it, and the Kawada kick gets two.  Trish canes her, but Victoria counters with a lid and goes up, but Trish takes her down with the lid.  They fight out and Victoria meets the stairs.  Back in, Victoria powerbombs her, and then finds a mirror outside.  Trish gives her another kick on the way in, another one gets two.  Victoria comes back with a weak cane shot, and Trish gets the worst bulldog ever for two.  That was just embarrassing, even by woman’s wrestling standards.  Victoria gets the FIRE EXTINGUISHER OF DOOM and suplexes her for the pin and the title at 7:00.  There was some good stuff in there and it was better than, say, Terri v. Stacy, but it pretty much fell apart once they went past the 5:00 mark.  **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I have really fond memories of this match for some reason.  Huh.)

Smackdown World title:  Brock Lesnar v. The Big Show.

Brock gets quite the monster pop.  MSG does love their big muscleheaded lugs.  Show goes for the ribs to start and gets a hiptoss, but Brock takes him down and pounds away.  They head out and Show posts Brock, and back in Brock gets a suplex where Show barely even leaves the mat.  C’mon, even Andre was able to take a bodyslam.  Show charges and misses, and Brock gets another suplex, as Show again is unable to take the bump properly.  F5 is blocked with a knee, and the ref is bumped in record time.  Overhead suplex and F5 (and a beauty too) look to finish , but Heyman pulls out the ref at two, and we have a heel turn.  Show chokeslams Lesnar on the chair for the pin and the title at 4:18  .  Note to aspiring wrestlers:  If you want to guarantee yourself a run at the top, make sure to weigh 500 pounds after being repeatedly asked to get down to 350, then wrestle the champion in a house show match and injure him right before a PPV where you’re the lame duck challenger of the month.  I assume (and this is probably a big assumption at this point) that the WWE braintrust is at least smart enough to know that Show needs to lose the title right away because he won’t be able to go more than 5:00 in a PPV main event, but god knows if they were smart they wouldn’t have booked themselves into a corner by having Show be the challenger of the month to begin with.  I mean, give your rationalizations and excuses about Brock’s injuries and “viable challengers” and blah blah blah but at the end of the day you have to go to sleep at night knowing that the FUCKING BIG SHOW is champion again.  I mean, really now, Big Show is the champion of the World again.  What the fuck?  You’ve got six guys floundering around in the tag team division who could be interchanging in the main events for the next four months with (I’m 150% sure) just as good a chance to pop a buyrate as Lesnar or Big Show has, so why not GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A CHANCE FOR ONCE?  People are digging this Benoit-Angle stuff, so let them run with the title for a couple of PPVs.  It’s not like Lesnar has been hot shit in terms of money drawn anyway.  I hate to start laying blame on a guy who’s only been pushed since June, but house shows HAVE been a total disaster since he won the title. Somebody’s gotta say it, and it might as well be me.  *  (2011 Scott sez:  In fact, they DID put the title on Angle right away, and let him run with a Benoit program, and it was pretty awesome.  Go me.)

Smackdown tag title match:  Edge & Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle v. Los Guerreros.

This is elimination rules.  Chavo makes sure to lay down the law to everyone before the match, then opts out of the match. Mysterio starts with Benoit, and gets CHOPPED.  You have to capitalize it for full effect.  Rey snaps off a rana and flapjacks him, and Edge comes in for a double-team hiptoss and some elbows.  Benoit comes back with more chops and brings in Angle, who immediately gets backdropped and tags in Chavo instead.  Edge takes him down and gets a dropkick, and Rey comes in with the falling splash for two.  Chavo tries a powerbomb, but Rey reverses to an armdrag.  Eddy comes in to take care of business, however, and pounds on Rey Rey.  Rey comes back with a flying headscissors and a monkey flip, so Eddy tags Angle again.  Kurt hammers on Rey, but gets headscissored.  He charges and misses, and Rey’s alley-oop to the top is blown, as he slips and falls onto the mat.  That’s pretty rare for Rey.  Angle suplex gets two.  Benoit gets a standing neckbreaker and a vicious backdrop suplex for two.  Angle gets his own backdrop suplex for two.  Angle gives Edge a cheapshot and tries the Angle Slam on Rey, but it’s reversed.  Angle hits him with a clothesline to recover and gets two.  Benoit gives Rey a knee to the gut and snaps a suplex for two.  I should point out that if you stare at Rey’s tights long enough, you can see a sailboat.  Or maybe it’s the Statue of Liberty – I was never good at those 3D puzzle things.  Angle hits the facelock, and counters a reversal attempt by Rey.  Rey fights out and gets a leg lariat, and everyone’s out.  The Guerreros decline the tag from Angle, so Benoit gets it instead.  Hot tag Edge, and he’s a heel-killing machine. Faceplant for Benoit and overhead suplex for Angle, as Eddy & Rey tumble over the top rope.  Edge goes for the spear, but lands into a crossface- anklelock combo that’s so awesome that it deserves it’s own spot in the Hall of Awesome.  Rey breaks it up as Angle bails, and hits a bunch of people with a spinning tope.  Meanwhile, Benoit suplexes Edge, until Eddy hits a sunset flip on Benoit while Benoit carries Edge over with a german suplex, and gets two.  That’s insane.  Benoit goes right back to suplexing Edge, but the hair saves Edge from permanent brain damage.  Benoit goes up, but Eddy sneaks in with a frog splash for two, so Benoit hits him with the headbutt instead.  Angle Slam for Eddy and anklelock, while Benoit puts Edge in the crossface, but the ref is distracted.  Chavo lays out Benoit with the belt and gives it to Angle, thus convincing Benoit that Angle did the deed.  More shoving results, and Edge finishes Benoit with the spear at 13:08.  Crowd kinda didn’t like that one, actually.  Angle, hero of sportsmanship, destroys Edge with a suplex afterwards, and Benoit takes out his problems on Chavo.  God’s Team fights back to the dressing room, while Eddy tries to steal a fall on Edge.  Los Guerreros work Edge over in the corner, and Chavo gets two.  Eddy’s senton gets two.  Main Event Sleeper wastes some time, and Chavo gets a dropkick for two.  Eddy uses the tag rope for some choking, and a backdrop suplex follows.  We go back to the facelock again.  Chavo dropkicks him for two.  Edge comes back with a flapjack on both of them, and makes the hot tag to Mysterio.  Crossbody for Chavo and a tilt-a-whirl for Eddy, and the heels collide to set up an alley-oop rana on Eddy that gets two.  Edge dumps Chavo, and does a sloppy reversal sequence with Eddy to set up the 619, but the ref is distracted, allowing Chavo to hit Rey with the belt.  Lasso From El Paso finishes at 19:25.  That beltshot finish is kinda played, to say the least.  This was pretty disappointing, but in a “weak Smackdown” way rather than a “weak RAW” kind of way.  One problem Heyman has is giving away the great matches on free TV and then not being able to top them on PPV, where it counts.  This really should have had 40-45 minutes, given the buildup for it. ***1/2

Chris Nowinski and Matt Hardy come out and cut brutally stupid anti-New York promos until Scott Steiner destroys them, just to show where the pecking order is once and for all.

Fake World title, Elimination Chamber:  HHH v. Shawn Michaels v. Four Other Guys Who Don’t Matter.

Might as well tell it like it is.  It’s a big round cage with a raised platform running flush with the ring apron, and four plexiglass cages holding the guys not immediately involved in the match.  Bischoff calls it “bulletproof” glass, but is careful not to actually TOUCH it, for reasons that will become apparent later.  I would be remiss in not noting how gay HBK is looking tonight, complete with his girlish haircut, tights-and-cowboy-boots look, and 120 pound frame.  I mean, seriously, I’m not one to advocate drug use, but sometimes you need to shoot up with roids in order to give the match SOME degree of cred.  I’ve seen Jeff Hardy look more butch than Shawn.  HHH and RVD start the match, with five-minute intervals for the other guys.  The small bolt holding the main door shut reminds me of the Rhino cages on the Simpsons.  Rob gets a leg lariat to start, and kicks away.  HHH comes back by USING THE KNEE, and gets backdropped onto the grating while trying the Pedigree. Rob stomps him down and sends him into the main door a couple of times, breaking the high-quality lock clean off.  So much for craftsmanship.  Rob monkey-flips him onto the grating (it kinda detracts from the intensity when you do three flips before a move), and gets Rolling Thunder onto the grating.  Back into the ring, Rob climbs above Jericho’s cage (you have to question THAT wisdom) and of course gets tripped up as a result.  They head back down again as Rob gets a sloppy somersault dive off the cage, only making contact in a general sense.  HHH eats the cage again and they head back in, as Jericho joins us after the first interval.  Rob hits him with a leg lariat and a standing moonsault for two.  Springboard dropkick and Rob dumps Jericho, then follows him out with a dive that misses.  He grabs the cage like Spider-Man (as noted by JR and King), and follows Jericho back in.  HHH nails him with a lariat, however.  Jericho hits RVD with a backdrop suplex, but Rob fights back on both heels.  Jericho hits him with a senton for two.  HHH tosses Rob again and they ram him into the cage and generally beat him down.  HHH whips Jericho into Rob, but it misses and Rob hits both of them with kicks to come back.  HHH DDTs him as we await the entrance of Booker T to hopefully get this thing moving a little faster.  Booker cleans house and stops for a Spinarooni, then does a sequence with RVD that ends with a spinkick that gets two for Booker.  Rob spinkicks him for two.  Blind charge misses and Booker sidekicks him for two.  HHH comes back in, but gets axe kicked.  RVD goes up to the top of an empty cage for the frog splash, but physics is NOT his friend, as he runs out of room and blows the move, driving his knee into HHH’s throat as a result.  Hebner gives the dreaded “X” sign to indicate legitimate injury, and HHH takes a breather while Booker hits Rob with a missile dropkick for the pin at 13:39.  I think RVD blew out his knee on that move, too.  Booker covers HHH for two.  Jericho chops away on Booker and bulldogs him, but misses the Lionsault and gets hit with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. Booker gets two, and Kane is in next.  Weird thing:  The order of entrance into the ring is the same as the order of entrance into the match.  Kane gives Booker a corner clothesline and tosses Jericho into the cage.  Next stop: The plexiglass, which turns out to be less bulletproof than advertised.  Kane pounds on HHH  and blocks Booker’s sidekick, then chokeslams him. Jericho Lionsaults Booker for the pin at 17:40.  Note to everyone still holding out hope for a Booker push:  Give it up.  Kane and Jericho fight on the cage and Jericho gets slammed back into the ring, while HHH lies around and bleeds.  You know, if HHH was injured, he should have just been a professional and bowed out of the match early and actually put someone over rather than waiting to give the Almighty Rub of God to his best friend.  Kane slams HHH off the top, but Jericho goes low and gives him a missile dropkick.  Shawn arrives on the scene and cleans house (which is a pretty ridiculous visual given the size difference) and hits Kane with the flying forearm.  JR’s assessment:  “He’s not quick, he’s sudden” Well, that certainly clears it up.  Kane chokes Jericho down and chokeslams everyone, but goes for exactly zero pins.  A superkick, a Pedigree and a Lionsault later and Kane is gone at 22:52.  Poor Kane is always booked to look like an incompetent boob, and they wonder why he never gets over. Jericho sends Shawn into the cage a few times and opens a cut (using verbal encouragement for good measure), and HHH tosses Shawn.  Some cheese grater action results.  Back in, Jericho abuses Shawn while HHH does nothing, but looks REALLY INTENSE while doing it.  Shawn fights back and goes for a piledriver on the grating, but Jericho backdrops out of it. Back in, Shawn hits HHH with his forearm (time to update the moveset, Shawn, it’s the 21st century), but gets Lionsaulted for two.  Shawn gets a moonsault press for two. He puts Jericho in a Boston Crab, but HHH DDTs Shawn to break it, and Jericho gets two.  The heels fight over the pin and HHH uses the knee for two.  Pedigree is reversed to the Walls, but Shawn superkicks him to break it, which was a pretty obvious spot.  Jericho is gonzo at 30:44.  HHH & Shawn slug it out, and HHH gets the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two.  Shawn charges and gets dumped, but they fight over the Pedigree and Shawn gets catapulted into the plexiglass. Back in, HHH gets two.  They slug it out again and HHH gets yet another facebuster and dumps Shawn.  I think they’re running out of spots to use tonight.  Another Pedigree attempt is reversed to yet another catapult, which is like the fifth one in the match.  Nice bald spot, Shawn.  Back in, Shawn goes up and drops the big elbow off the cage, almost adding his contribution to the “kill HHH fund” in the process, and the band is warming up.  He passes a move to HHH via Hebner on-camera, telling him to tell HHH to block the first one.  And indeed, HHH blocks it and hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but doesn’t go for the pin.  He finally gets two.  Another try is reversed by Shawn to the superkick, and he wins the title at 39:21.  I am astonished (well, not REALLY) that they would buy into this Shawn nostalgia crap when he’s actively tanking ratings and wasn’t a draw to begin with.  Irony of course struck hard here, as HHH set things up to give himself a rematch next month, but suffered a crushed larynx in the process and thus probably won’t be able to get his title back yet.  Oh well, if HHH can’t talk for a month, it’s a small price to pay.  Match was, shall we say, dramatically sound in the last 10 minutes, but it was just so darn LONG that I can’t recommend bothering to watch it, and HHH’s performance was pretty useless.  Guess he needs to learn how to work injured.  ***1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I was very happy to be proven totally wrong about Shawn Michaels.  Although HHH winning the title back was a pretty dull match.)  

The Bottom Line:

I’m not even really sure what I thought of this show – everything was pretty okay at the very least, but the booking choices were so retarded that it hampered my enjoyment a lot.  And we can forget about seeing the Elimination Chamber again, I think – logistically speaking, it’s just too complex and the payoff isn’t worth it.

Call it thumbs up for the work but thumbs down for the booking, and we’ll compromise and say thumbs in the middle leaning up.

Survivor Series Countdown: 2002

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2002

– Live from Monosodium glutamate

– Your host is Tazz King Cole Jr.

  Opening match:  Three Minute Warning v. Jeff Hardy & The Dudley Boyz.

The Dudleyz clean house to start and Spike gets pressed onto the samoans, and Jeff follows them out with a dive onto everyone.  In the ring, Rico pounds on Bubba while Spike hits a samoan with a rana.  They hit the Wazzup drop on both Rico and Jamal and get the tables.  Tyler’s idea: 3MW should do like the Killer Bees and change shirts at some point in the match, thus guaranteeing confusion for the referee.  Rosie faceplants Spike and dumps Jeff, thus crushing the hopes of fans everywhere.  He charges Spike in the corner, but misses and puts himself through a table.  He then no-sells his own offense and hits Bubba with a spinebuster, then catches Jeff in mid-air in a terrible looking spot, and splashes him.  Rico sets up a table and tries to suplex Spike through it, but it gets blocked.  3MW team up to put him through and eliminate him about 4:30 or so.  The remaining faces are set up to be splashed to death, but they make the comeback until getting overwhelmed by the awesome force of Samoa.  Rosie drags Jeff into the crowd and sets up a table in the aisle, while heel miscommunication in the ring results in Jamal taking a BubbaBomb.  Bubba saves Jeff from certain table-dom, and Jeff climbs over the exit and puts Rosie through the table at 8:00.  Great, but we already saw that spot at Rumble 2000, in the same building no less.  Back in the ring, Rico and Jamal double-team Bubba and Rico goes up for the moonsault, but takes forever and audibly calls out “C’mon Jeff goddammit!” while waiting for Jeff to trip him up.  Of course, that’s just what happens, and Jeff hits Jamal with the corkscrew and Jamal bails.  Jeff follows him out and does the most pathetic railrunner I’ve seen in a while, nearly slipping and breaking his neck in mid-move.  Get this guy off TV, seriously.  Jamal puts him on a fresh table and splashes him through it to finish the elimination at 11:00.  It was time for Jeff to go beddy-bye anyway.  So Bubba is left 2-on-1, and he hammers on Rico in the ring and puts him on a table, but Jamal saves him, stalls for a while, and then follows Bubba to the top and gets powerbombed through the table at 12:00 in a move so obvious that he might as well have sent everyone in the audience a telegram saying “Dear audience (stop) I am about to get powerbombed through this table (stop)  PS I am fat and talentless (stop)”.  Jamal however, rebel to the end, will not leave, and hits Bubba with a belly to belly suplex, and Rosie joins them.  JR protests the poor sportsmanship, but D-Von Dudley returns to the Dudley fold and cleans house on the heels, before setting up Rico and helping Bubba to hit 3D at 14:19.  Well, that was certainly the right move on the WWE’s part – the singles pushes weren’t going anywhere and they knew it.  Match was okay, but the sloppiness from Jeff and the samoans hurt it a lot.  **3/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I would not have bet in a million years that Jamal would actually go on to be a big star and his death would be a huge loss to the industry.)

– Saliva plays “Always” at the World.  That album is pretty tough to find up here for some reason.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s still hard to find, but that’s mainly because no one gives a shit about Saliva anymore)

  Jobberweight title:  Jamie Noble v. Billy Kidman.

Newer, crappier music for Kidman tonight.  Kidman gets a fast rollup for one, and another one for two.  Rana gets one.  Noble takes a well-advised breather, and catches Kidman on the chase to take over.  Kidman’s rebound lariat is reversed to the neckbreaker by Noble for two.  Noble chokes him out and goes to the surfboard.  Rumor du jour:  Noble is cheating on his wife with Nidia in real life.  (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing to that one.)  Kidman gets dumped and Noble follows with a tope, and back in, he goes up but gets dropkicked on the way down.  They slug it out and Kidman gets an elbow and a dropkick to come back, but Noble switches under into a pumphandle, which Kidman reverses to a DVD-neckbreaker for two.  Nice little sequence there.  Noble comes back with a Falcon Arrow for two. Kidman gets a reverse Falcon Arrow and goes up for the SSP, but Nidia pulls Noble to safety, which allows Kidman to follow him out with a plancha.  Sadly the crowd isn’t into any of this.  Kidman springboards back in with a legdrop for two.  Noble’s powerbomb is reversed by Kidman, but Nidia trips him up.  This backfires as the heels collide and Kidman gets the Rydien Bomb for two.  Kidman tries a powerbomb, but you can’t powerbomb Noble either, and they go into a swank powerbomb reversal sequence that leads to Noble getting the tigerbomb for two.  Noble charges and gets nothing, and Kidman goes up, but Noble follows him up.  They fight up there and Kidman wins that battle with a top rope X-Factor that gets two.  Noble hangs Kidman on the top and DDTs him out of the corner for two.  That’s just insanely vicious.  Kidman immediately shrugs it off, however, and gets an enzuigiri to set up the Shooting Star Press, but Noble blocks it.  He goes back down, however, and it’s sayonara at 7:28.  Kidman no-selling the DDT was kind of typical of the cruiserweights in general, so I’m not gonna harp on that too much, but it was SUCH a vicious move that he should have been dead, or at least selling the neck or something.  **1/2

– Meanwhile, Angle & Benoit share another hug, which is not exactly welcomed by Benoit.

Women’s title:  Trish Stratus v. Victoria.

This is hardcore rules.  Man, we’ve sure had a lot of those matches after the “last ever hardcore match”, haven’t we?  Victoria attacks to start and chokes out Trish, then grabs a broom from the conveniently placed trashcans o’ plunder.  Trish avoids the broom, but gets choked out with it.  Note to camerapeople:  Don’t zoom in on the six inches of space between the broom and Trish’s throat.  Trish snapmares her with the broom to escape, and grabs a lid, but gets broomed again.  They head out and Trish meets a trashcan, and back in we go. Victoria slingshots in with a legdrop for two.  She puts a trashcan into the corner (the wrong way), but gets catapulted into it instead.  That gets two for Trish.  I won’t even mention the strange golf shot with the trashcan.  An ironing board gets set up (in theory) by Trish and Victoria runs into it, and the Kawada kick gets two.  Trish canes her, but Victoria counters with a lid and goes up, but Trish takes her down with the lid.  They fight out and Victoria meets the stairs.  Back in, Victoria powerbombs her, and then finds a mirror outside.  Trish gives her another kick on the way in, another one gets two.  Victoria comes back with a weak cane shot, and Trish gets the worst bulldog ever for two.  That was just embarrassing, even by woman’s wrestling standards.  Victoria gets the FIRE EXTINGUISHER OF DOOM and suplexes her for the pin and the title at 7:00.  There was some good stuff in there and it was better than, say, Terri v. Stacy, but it pretty much fell apart once they went past the 5:00 mark.  **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I have really fond memories of this match for some reason.  Huh.)

Smackdown World title:  Brock Lesnar v. The Big Show.

Brock gets quite the monster pop.  MSG does love their big muscleheaded lugs.  Show goes for the ribs to start and gets a hiptoss, but Brock takes him down and pounds away.  They head out and Show posts Brock, and back in Brock gets a suplex where Show barely even leaves the mat.  C’mon, even Andre was able to take a bodyslam.  Show charges and misses, and Brock gets another suplex, as Show again is unable to take the bump properly.  F5 is blocked with a knee, and the ref is bumped in record time.  Overhead suplex and F5 (and a beauty too) look to finish , but Heyman pulls out the ref at two, and we have a heel turn.  Show chokeslams Lesnar on the chair for the pin and the title at 4:18  .  Note to aspiring wrestlers:  If you want to guarantee yourself a run at the top, make sure to weigh 500 pounds after being repeatedly asked to get down to 350, then wrestle the champion in a house show match and injure him right before a PPV where you’re the lame duck challenger of the month.  I assume (and this is probably a big assumption at this point) that the WWE braintrust is at least smart enough to know that Show needs to lose the title right away because he won’t be able to go more than 5:00 in a PPV main event, but god knows if they were smart they wouldn’t have booked themselves into a corner by having Show be the challenger of the month to begin with.  I mean, give your rationalizations and excuses about Brock’s injuries and “viable challengers” and blah blah blah but at the end of the day you have to go to sleep at night knowing that the FUCKING BIG SHOW is champion again.  I mean, really now, Big Show is the champion of the World again.  What the fuck?  You’ve got six guys floundering around in the tag team division who could be interchanging in the main events for the next four months with (I’m 150% sure) just as good a chance to pop a buyrate as Lesnar or Big Show has, so why not GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A CHANCE FOR ONCE?  People are digging this Benoit-Angle stuff, so let them run with the title for a couple of PPVs.  It’s not like Lesnar has been hot shit in terms of money drawn anyway.  I hate to start laying blame on a guy who’s only been pushed since June, but house shows HAVE been a total disaster since he won the title. Somebody’s gotta say it, and it might as well be me.  *  (2011 Scott sez:  In fact, they DID put the title on Angle right away, and let him run with a Benoit program, and it was pretty awesome.  Go me.)

Smackdown tag title match:  Edge & Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle v. Los Guerreros.

This is elimination rules.  Chavo makes sure to lay down the law to everyone before the match, then opts out of the match. Mysterio starts with Benoit, and gets CHOPPED.  You have to capitalize it for full effect.  Rey snaps off a rana and flapjacks him, and Edge comes in for a double-team hiptoss and some elbows.  Benoit comes back with more chops and brings in Angle, who immediately gets backdropped and tags in Chavo instead.  Edge takes him down and gets a dropkick, and Rey comes in with the falling splash for two.  Chavo tries a powerbomb, but Rey reverses to an armdrag.  Eddy comes in to take care of business, however, and pounds on Rey Rey.  Rey comes back with a flying headscissors and a monkey flip, so Eddy tags Angle again.  Kurt hammers on Rey, but gets headscissored.  He charges and misses, and Rey’s alley-oop to the top is blown, as he slips and falls onto the mat.  That’s pretty rare for Rey.  Angle suplex gets two.  Benoit gets a standing neckbreaker and a vicious backdrop suplex for two.  Angle gets his own backdrop suplex for two.  Angle gives Edge a cheapshot and tries the Angle Slam on Rey, but it’s reversed.  Angle hits him with a clothesline to recover and gets two.  Benoit gives Rey a knee to the gut and snaps a suplex for two.  I should point out that if you stare at Rey’s tights long enough, you can see a sailboat.  Or maybe it’s the Statue of Liberty – I was never good at those 3D puzzle things.  Angle hits the facelock, and counters a reversal attempt by Rey.  Rey fights out and gets a leg lariat, and everyone’s out.  The Guerreros decline the tag from Angle, so Benoit gets it instead.  Hot tag Edge, and he’s a heel-killing machine. Faceplant for Benoit and overhead suplex for Angle, as Eddy & Rey tumble over the top rope.  Edge goes for the spear, but lands into a crossface- anklelock combo that’s so awesome that it deserves it’s own spot in the Hall of Awesome.  Rey breaks it up as Angle bails, and hits a bunch of people with a spinning tope.  Meanwhile, Benoit suplexes Edge, until Eddy hits a sunset flip on Benoit while Benoit carries Edge over with a german suplex, and gets two.  That’s insane.  Benoit goes right back to suplexing Edge, but the hair saves Edge from permanent brain damage.  Benoit goes up, but Eddy sneaks in with a frog splash for two, so Benoit hits him with the headbutt instead.  Angle Slam for Eddy and anklelock, while Benoit puts Edge in the crossface, but the ref is distracted.  Chavo lays out Benoit with the belt and gives it to Angle, thus convincing Benoit that Angle did the deed.  More shoving results, and Edge finishes Benoit with the spear at 13:08.  Crowd kinda didn’t like that one, actually.  Angle, hero of sportsmanship, destroys Edge with a suplex afterwards, and Benoit takes out his problems on Chavo.  God’s Team fights back to the dressing room, while Eddy tries to steal a fall on Edge.  Los Guerreros work Edge over in the corner, and Chavo gets two.  Eddy’s senton gets two.  Main Event Sleeper wastes some time, and Chavo gets a dropkick for two.  Eddy uses the tag rope for some choking, and a backdrop suplex follows.  We go back to the facelock again.  Chavo dropkicks him for two.  Edge comes back with a flapjack on both of them, and makes the hot tag to Mysterio.  Crossbody for Chavo and a tilt-a-whirl for Eddy, and the heels collide to set up an alley-oop rana on Eddy that gets two.  Edge dumps Chavo, and does a sloppy reversal sequence with Eddy to set up the 619, but the ref is distracted, allowing Chavo to hit Rey with the belt.  Lasso From El Paso finishes at 19:25.  That beltshot finish is kinda played, to say the least.  This was pretty disappointing, but in a “weak Smackdown” way rather than a “weak RAW” kind of way.  One problem Heyman has is giving away the great matches on free TV and then not being able to top them on PPV, where it counts.  This really should have had 40-45 minutes, given the buildup for it. ***1/2

Chris Nowinski and Matt Hardy come out and cut brutally stupid anti-New York promos until Scott Steiner destroys them, just to show where the pecking order is once and for all.

Fake World title, Elimination Chamber:  HHH v. Shawn Michaels v. Four Other Guys Who Don’t Matter.

Might as well tell it like it is.  It’s a big round cage with a raised platform running flush with the ring apron, and four plexiglass cages holding the guys not immediately involved in the match.  Bischoff calls it “bulletproof” glass, but is careful not to actually TOUCH it, for reasons that will become apparent later.  I would be remiss in not noting how gay HBK is looking tonight, complete with his girlish haircut, tights-and-cowboy-boots look, and 120 pound frame.  I mean, seriously, I’m not one to advocate drug use, but sometimes you need to shoot up with roids in order to give the match SOME degree of cred.  I’ve seen Jeff Hardy look more butch than Shawn.  HHH and RVD start the match, with five-minute intervals for the other guys.  The small bolt holding the main door shut reminds me of the Rhino cages on the Simpsons.  Rob gets a leg lariat to start, and kicks away.  HHH comes back by USING THE KNEE, and gets backdropped onto the grating while trying the Pedigree. Rob stomps him down and sends him into the main door a couple of times, breaking the high-quality lock clean off.  So much for craftsmanship.  Rob monkey-flips him onto the grating (it kinda detracts from the intensity when you do three flips before a move), and gets Rolling Thunder onto the grating.  Back into the ring, Rob climbs above Jericho’s cage (you have to question THAT wisdom) and of course gets tripped up as a result.  They head back down again as Rob gets a sloppy somersault dive off the cage, only making contact in a general sense.  HHH eats the cage again and they head back in, as Jericho joins us after the first interval.  Rob hits him with a leg lariat and a standing moonsault for two.  Springboard dropkick and Rob dumps Jericho, then follows him out with a dive that misses.  He grabs the cage like Spider-Man (as noted by JR and King), and follows Jericho back in.  HHH nails him with a lariat, however.  Jericho hits RVD with a backdrop suplex, but Rob fights back on both heels.  Jericho hits him with a senton for two.  HHH tosses Rob again and they ram him into the cage and generally beat him down.  HHH whips Jericho into Rob, but it misses and Rob hits both of them with kicks to come back.  HHH DDTs him as we await the entrance of Booker T to hopefully get this thing moving a little faster.  Booker cleans house and stops for a Spinarooni, then does a sequence with RVD that ends with a spinkick that gets two for Booker.  Rob spinkicks him for two.  Blind charge misses and Booker sidekicks him for two.  HHH comes back in, but gets axe kicked.  RVD goes up to the top of an empty cage for the frog splash, but physics is NOT his friend, as he runs out of room and blows the move, driving his knee into HHH’s throat as a result.  Hebner gives the dreaded “X” sign to indicate legitimate injury, and HHH takes a breather while Booker hits Rob with a missile dropkick for the pin at 13:39.  I think RVD blew out his knee on that move, too.  Booker covers HHH for two.  Jericho chops away on Booker and bulldogs him, but misses the Lionsault and gets hit with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. Booker gets two, and Kane is in next.  Weird thing:  The order of entrance into the ring is the same as the order of entrance into the match.  Kane gives Booker a corner clothesline and tosses Jericho into the cage.  Next stop: The plexiglass, which turns out to be less bulletproof than advertised.  Kane pounds on HHH  and blocks Booker’s sidekick, then chokeslams him. Jericho Lionsaults Booker for the pin at 17:40.  Note to everyone still holding out hope for a Booker push:  Give it up.  Kane and Jericho fight on the cage and Jericho gets slammed back into the ring, while HHH lies around and bleeds.  You know, if HHH was injured, he should have just been a professional and bowed out of the match early and actually put someone over rather than waiting to give the Almighty Rub of God to his best friend.  Kane slams HHH off the top, but Jericho goes low and gives him a missile dropkick.  Shawn arrives on the scene and cleans house (which is a pretty ridiculous visual given the size difference) and hits Kane with the flying forearm.  JR’s assessment:  “He’s not quick, he’s sudden” Well, that certainly clears it up.  Kane chokes Jericho down and chokeslams everyone, but goes for exactly zero pins.  A superkick, a Pedigree and a Lionsault later and Kane is gone at 22:52.  Poor Kane is always booked to look like an incompetent boob, and they wonder why he never gets over. Jericho sends Shawn into the cage a few times and opens a cut (using verbal encouragement for good measure), and HHH tosses Shawn.  Some cheese grater action results.  Back in, Jericho abuses Shawn while HHH does nothing, but looks REALLY INTENSE while doing it.  Shawn fights back and goes for a piledriver on the grating, but Jericho backdrops out of it. Back in, Shawn hits HHH with his forearm (time to update the moveset, Shawn, it’s the 21st century), but gets Lionsaulted for two.  Shawn gets a moonsault press for two. He puts Jericho in a Boston Crab, but HHH DDTs Shawn to break it, and Jericho gets two.  The heels fight over the pin and HHH uses the knee for two.  Pedigree is reversed to the Walls, but Shawn superkicks him to break it, which was a pretty obvious spot.  Jericho is gonzo at 30:44.  HHH & Shawn slug it out, and HHH gets the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two.  Shawn charges and gets dumped, but they fight over the Pedigree and Shawn gets catapulted into the plexiglass. Back in, HHH gets two.  They slug it out again and HHH gets yet another facebuster and dumps Shawn.  I think they’re running out of spots to use tonight.  Another Pedigree attempt is reversed to yet another catapult, which is like the fifth one in the match.  Nice bald spot, Shawn.  Back in, Shawn goes up and drops the big elbow off the cage, almost adding his contribution to the “kill HHH fund” in the process, and the band is warming up.  He passes a move to HHH via Hebner on-camera, telling him to tell HHH to block the first one.  And indeed, HHH blocks it and hits the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but doesn’t go for the pin.  He finally gets two.  Another try is reversed by Shawn to the superkick, and he wins the title at 39:21.  I am astonished (well, not REALLY) that they would buy into this Shawn nostalgia crap when he’s actively tanking ratings and wasn’t a draw to begin with.  Irony of course struck hard here, as HHH set things up to give himself a rematch next month, but suffered a crushed larynx in the process and thus probably won’t be able to get his title back yet.  Oh well, if HHH can’t talk for a month, it’s a small price to pay.  Match was, shall we say, dramatically sound in the last 10 minutes, but it was just so darn LONG that I can’t recommend bothering to watch it, and HHH’s performance was pretty useless.  Guess he needs to learn how to work injured.  ***1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I was very happy to be proven totally wrong about Shawn Michaels.  Although HHH winning the title back was a pretty dull match.)  

The Bottom Line:

I’m not even really sure what I thought of this show – everything was pretty okay at the very least, but the booking choices were so retarded that it hampered my enjoyment a lot.  And we can forget about seeing the Elimination Chamber again, I think – logistically speaking, it’s just too complex and the payoff isn’t worth it.

Call it thumbs up for the work but thumbs down for the booking, and we’ll compromise and say thumbs in the middle leaning up.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff, Too!) – 11.16.11

 

 
Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)  – 11.16.11
I really need a new name for this column, I think.
So apologies for skipping last week, but I was out of town with only my phone connecting me to the outside world, and I just can’t get the hang of Comixology for Android.  All you need to know from last week:  Just go out and buy Batwoman, it’s the most beautifully drawn comic I’ve ever seen and it’s filled with complex and realistic characters who are in a world that’s trippy and surreal.  It’s just awesome. People have been asking me to review other things on my pull list besides DC, so last week I was all set to add my thoughts on Avenging Spider-Man (AWESOME!), New Avengers (a totally disappointing rehash of the Dark Avengers) and Point One (I have no idea what’s going on here but I think I’ll buy Scarlet Spider if it ever comes out).  This time, I’ll throw Deadpool #46 in there since I read it every month and never see reviews for it anywhere, and Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3.


Deadpool #46
One thing I really like about Marvel is that they have the little recap at the beginning of the issue, so that even if you’re picking up a title in the middle of a run you can catch up really quickly.  In this case, Deadpool was being stalked by a crazy doctor who kept his old body parts in her freezer, and they banded together to regenerate into an EVIL DEADPOOL.  And there you go, all caught up.  In a more general sense, I really like Deadpool as a character because it captures a lot of the fourth-wall breaking and general zaniness of Ambush Bug while sticking closer to the usual superhero tropes.  It’s a good combination and it’s a really easy comic to pick up and start reading.  This issue sees Wade trying to outsmart himself and failing spectacularly, as the two Deadpools want to engage in a fair firefight with bigger weapons, but neither can figure out a way to sneak around to the good stash without the other knowing what they’re doing in advance.  I particularly enjoyed Evil Deadpool blowing up Deadpool’s favourite chimichanga stand because it seemed like the EVIL thing to do.  As far as comics go, this is all very low-stakes stuff (and really, Deadpool is in no danger of actually dying or being harmed, so it mostly dispenses with the false suspense over his fate should he be, say, shot in the head point-blank) but it’s comfort food for me, like a psychotic Looney Tunes cartoon.   Recommended!

Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3
I have a friend who works for Red 5 Comics, but I’m happy to pimp this title anyway because it’s just terrific.  It’s got the fun, loose feel of the glory days of the Giffen Justice League, with nice bright clean artwork that’s easy to follow.  The story so far:  Atomic Robo gets lured into space by a false distress call from NASA, and blown up.  Now he’s searching for the organization with the ability to pull it off, as well as a giant house-sized supercomputer that provides the only clue to what they’re looking for.  The only problem is that the house (the Station X of the title) has vanished into thin air, which gives us a hilarious sequence with the finest nerds that the government can produce trying to figure out how.  The chalkboard gag in particular (Glitch in the matrix  REALLY LARGE TRUCK) is a nice bit of subtle humor that actually leads into a plot point when they discover how close to the truth it was.  Unfortunately, the light-hearted tone has an unfortunate turn when Robo cracks a joke about the “genius” who designed an Iphone not thinking about someone with metal hands like his, as the comic was written well before Steve Jobs died.  But that’s minor and out of their control.  This is just a fun, straight-forward action-adventure comic starring a wisecracking robot, and you should buy it.  Also recommended.
On with your regularly scheduled New 52.  As threatened, I dropped Nightwing, so no review here, I’m afraid.  As you’ll see, there’s another couple of titles on the bubble as well as I really start to thin out the herd…

Justice League #3
This is of course the flagship of the new DC, and thankfully the origin story is starting to pick up even more, with Wonder Woman coming to man’s world and kicking man’s ass.  The Flash-GL relationship continues to entertain (“Dibs”) and in the span of two pages Victor Stone goes from near-death into Cyborg.  Having T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo hanging around with Vic’s dad was a little cutesy for my liking (although a nice callback to Justice League history), but the JL cracks wise and blows up parademons real good, leading to the last major piece of the puzzle on the last page.  And I’m getting my $4 worth out of this book at least.  It’s still not a classic or anything, but the art is wonderful (until Jim Lee stops being able to get stuff done on time…) and I’m wanting to know what happens next.  It still feels too decompressed and I’m wanting things to just move to the damn present already so they can add all the other characters you know they’re going to, but I’m still liking it and will continue on.

Supergirl #3
At least these work pretty well as standalone issues.  After the fight with Superman in the second issue, Kara decides to fly off looking for her Kryptonian pod, only to meet 28 year old trillionaire Simon Tycho.  In a nice bit of plot device, the US government has decided to abandon space to the private sector, so Tycho builds his own space station and runs our heroine through a series of torture tests to determine what he’s dealing with.  This is all very elementary stuff, which is weird because you think people would know who Supergirl is and wouldn’t need three issues of what her powers are and the effects that Kryptonite has on her.  It’s interesting from the standpoint of seeing the story through the eyes of someone who is learning about those powers for the first time, but it just doesn’t feel like the story is proceeding anywhere yet.  I think this title is done for me.

Batman #3
Man, this comic just keeps chugging along at a high level, and I love it.  I still think they should swap Batman titles and have this one be Detective Comics, because Scott Snyder really has the feel of a Batman engaged in detective work rather than mindless asskicking.  But he’s got that too.  Gotham is being targeted by a mysterious group of owl-worshipping assassins who date back to turn-of-the-century Gotham (I feel like there’s a Jonah Hex crossover coming here soon), and have somehow managed to infiltrate super-secure Wayne Tower to make an attempt on Bruce’s life.  So after taking out five gangs of thugs in Gotham’s subway system (small question:  How the hell do the Whisper Gang members eat or even breathe?), Bruce goes hunting for owls, and the reveal of their secret is really creepy and effective stuff.  Obviously there’s some homage to Nite Owl of the Watchmen here, and again penciller Greg Capullo has fun with the medium, doing a POV shot through Batman’s cowl to great effect.  What’s also great is that this is about BATMAN, and Robin is nowhere to be seen because there’s already a “Batman and Robin” title out there.  And it’s a pretty good comic, too, by the way.  In fact, with the exception of the lumbering and stupid Dark Knight title, all the main Batbooks are at least worth picking up right now.  That’s a pretty good batting average, but this is the star of the team.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #3
As I believe I mentioned last month, I’ve given up on this trainwreck of a book being good in the conventional sense of the word, so now I’m more hoping for “entertaining crap” status out of it.  And in that, it’s starting to succeed.  Because hey, if you can’t be good, at least you can be batshit insane.  Pardon the pun.  I should point out that we’re three issues in and we still don’t know why these three people are together or what they’re after or much of anything, but here they fight a giant spiked dragon of some sort while hunting for a snow globe in a Himalayan fortress controlled by a creepy monk who reads their memories to provide the reader with backstory.  Now THAT is committing to your artform, my friends.  If you’re gonna be stupid, go all the way with it.  Honestly, I still have no earthly idea what’s happening in this series at any given moment, but all the ridiculous faux-hipster dialogue and meaningless action more than compensate by making Red Hood one of the most unintentionally hilarious comics in a long time.  I will keep supporting this endeavour of madness until it gets cancelled like it deserves!

Birds of Prey #3
I wasn’t feeling issue #2, but the third one, with the complete Birds team chasing after innocent people who have bombs planted in their head, is a tightly-paced little thriller that feels like it’s over too soon.  Plus the ending is a nice twist and kick in the head as well.  I’m not a huge fan of any of the team members so it’s hard for me to care overly much about the fate of anyone, especially since it’s essentially a hard reboot of all the characters anyway.  That being said, while it didn’t blow me away, the story continues to impress and carries this one to “above average” territory, and that’s good enough to keep it on the pull list.
And finally…

Blue Beetle #3
This would be the conclusion of the current story arc, and it’s pretty exposition-heavy.  It’s mostly an internal dialogue between Jaime and the suit, and he tries to talk it into letting him go so that his family knows he’s alive and well.  Meanwhile, government baddies are after him and the scarab, and the Brotherhood of Evil is getting involved as well.  This one’s really on the fence for me and the character isn’t enough of a draw to keep me coming back to a comic I’m not totally enjoying.
We’ll see how I feel next month, I guess.
This week’s winner:  Batman!  But also pick up Atomic Robo for totally different reasons.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff, Too!) – 11.16.11

 

 
Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)  – 11.16.11
I really need a new name for this column, I think.
So apologies for skipping last week, but I was out of town with only my phone connecting me to the outside world, and I just can’t get the hang of Comixology for Android.  All you need to know from last week:  Just go out and buy Batwoman, it’s the most beautifully drawn comic I’ve ever seen and it’s filled with complex and realistic characters who are in a world that’s trippy and surreal.  It’s just awesome. People have been asking me to review other things on my pull list besides DC, so last week I was all set to add my thoughts on Avenging Spider-Man (AWESOME!), New Avengers (a totally disappointing rehash of the Dark Avengers) and Point One (I have no idea what’s going on here but I think I’ll buy Scarlet Spider if it ever comes out).  This time, I’ll throw Deadpool #46 in there since I read it every month and never see reviews for it anywhere, and Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3.


Deadpool #46
One thing I really like about Marvel is that they have the little recap at the beginning of the issue, so that even if you’re picking up a title in the middle of a run you can catch up really quickly.  In this case, Deadpool was being stalked by a crazy doctor who kept his old body parts in her freezer, and they banded together to regenerate into an EVIL DEADPOOL.  And there you go, all caught up.  In a more general sense, I really like Deadpool as a character because it captures a lot of the fourth-wall breaking and general zaniness of Ambush Bug while sticking closer to the usual superhero tropes.  It’s a good combination and it’s a really easy comic to pick up and start reading.  This issue sees Wade trying to outsmart himself and failing spectacularly, as the two Deadpools want to engage in a fair firefight with bigger weapons, but neither can figure out a way to sneak around to the good stash without the other knowing what they’re doing in advance.  I particularly enjoyed Evil Deadpool blowing up Deadpool’s favourite chimichanga stand because it seemed like the EVIL thing to do.  As far as comics go, this is all very low-stakes stuff (and really, Deadpool is in no danger of actually dying or being harmed, so it mostly dispenses with the false suspense over his fate should he be, say, shot in the head point-blank) but it’s comfort food for me, like a psychotic Looney Tunes cartoon.   Recommended!

Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3
I have a friend who works for Red 5 Comics, but I’m happy to pimp this title anyway because it’s just terrific.  It’s got the fun, loose feel of the glory days of the Giffen Justice League, with nice bright clean artwork that’s easy to follow.  The story so far:  Atomic Robo gets lured into space by a false distress call from NASA, and blown up.  Now he’s searching for the organization with the ability to pull it off, as well as a giant house-sized supercomputer that provides the only clue to what they’re looking for.  The only problem is that the house (the Station X of the title) has vanished into thin air, which gives us a hilarious sequence with the finest nerds that the government can produce trying to figure out how.  The chalkboard gag in particular (Glitch in the matrix  REALLY LARGE TRUCK) is a nice bit of subtle humor that actually leads into a plot point when they discover how close to the truth it was.  Unfortunately, the light-hearted tone has an unfortunate turn when Robo cracks a joke about the “genius” who designed an Iphone not thinking about someone with metal hands like his, as the comic was written well before Steve Jobs died.  But that’s minor and out of their control.  This is just a fun, straight-forward action-adventure comic starring a wisecracking robot, and you should buy it.  Also recommended.
On with your regularly scheduled New 52.  As threatened, I dropped Nightwing, so no review here, I’m afraid.  As you’ll see, there’s another couple of titles on the bubble as well as I really start to thin out the herd…

Justice League #3
This is of course the flagship of the new DC, and thankfully the origin story is starting to pick up even more, with Wonder Woman coming to man’s world and kicking man’s ass.  The Flash-GL relationship continues to entertain (“Dibs”) and in the span of two pages Victor Stone goes from near-death into Cyborg.  Having T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo hanging around with Vic’s dad was a little cutesy for my liking (although a nice callback to Justice League history), but the JL cracks wise and blows up parademons real good, leading to the last major piece of the puzzle on the last page.  And I’m getting my $4 worth out of this book at least.  It’s still not a classic or anything, but the art is wonderful (until Jim Lee stops being able to get stuff done on time…) and I’m wanting to know what happens next.  It still feels too decompressed and I’m wanting things to just move to the damn present already so they can add all the other characters you know they’re going to, but I’m still liking it and will continue on.

Supergirl #3
At least these work pretty well as standalone issues.  After the fight with Superman in the second issue, Kara decides to fly off looking for her Kryptonian pod, only to meet 28 year old trillionaire Simon Tycho.  In a nice bit of plot device, the US government has decided to abandon space to the private sector, so Tycho builds his own space station and runs our heroine through a series of torture tests to determine what he’s dealing with.  This is all very elementary stuff, which is weird because you think people would know who Supergirl is and wouldn’t need three issues of what her powers are and the effects that Kryptonite has on her.  It’s interesting from the standpoint of seeing the story through the eyes of someone who is learning about those powers for the first time, but it just doesn’t feel like the story is proceeding anywhere yet.  I think this title is done for me.

Batman #3
Man, this comic just keeps chugging along at a high level, and I love it.  I still think they should swap Batman titles and have this one be Detective Comics, because Scott Snyder really has the feel of a Batman engaged in detective work rather than mindless asskicking.  But he’s got that too.  Gotham is being targeted by a mysterious group of owl-worshipping assassins who date back to turn-of-the-century Gotham (I feel like there’s a Jonah Hex crossover coming here soon), and have somehow managed to infiltrate super-secure Wayne Tower to make an attempt on Bruce’s life.  So after taking out five gangs of thugs in Gotham’s subway system (small question:  How the hell do the Whisper Gang members eat or even breathe?), Bruce goes hunting for owls, and the reveal of their secret is really creepy and effective stuff.  Obviously there’s some homage to Nite Owl of the Watchmen here, and again penciller Greg Capullo has fun with the medium, doing a POV shot through Batman’s cowl to great effect.  What’s also great is that this is about BATMAN, and Robin is nowhere to be seen because there’s already a “Batman and Robin” title out there.  And it’s a pretty good comic, too, by the way.  In fact, with the exception of the lumbering and stupid Dark Knight title, all the main Batbooks are at least worth picking up right now.  That’s a pretty good batting average, but this is the star of the team.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #3
As I believe I mentioned last month, I’ve given up on this trainwreck of a book being good in the conventional sense of the word, so now I’m more hoping for “entertaining crap” status out of it.  And in that, it’s starting to succeed.  Because hey, if you can’t be good, at least you can be batshit insane.  Pardon the pun.  I should point out that we’re three issues in and we still don’t know why these three people are together or what they’re after or much of anything, but here they fight a giant spiked dragon of some sort while hunting for a snow globe in a Himalayan fortress controlled by a creepy monk who reads their memories to provide the reader with backstory.  Now THAT is committing to your artform, my friends.  If you’re gonna be stupid, go all the way with it.  Honestly, I still have no earthly idea what’s happening in this series at any given moment, but all the ridiculous faux-hipster dialogue and meaningless action more than compensate by making Red Hood one of the most unintentionally hilarious comics in a long time.  I will keep supporting this endeavour of madness until it gets cancelled like it deserves!

Birds of Prey #3
I wasn’t feeling issue #2, but the third one, with the complete Birds team chasing after innocent people who have bombs planted in their head, is a tightly-paced little thriller that feels like it’s over too soon.  Plus the ending is a nice twist and kick in the head as well.  I’m not a huge fan of any of the team members so it’s hard for me to care overly much about the fate of anyone, especially since it’s essentially a hard reboot of all the characters anyway.  That being said, while it didn’t blow me away, the story continues to impress and carries this one to “above average” territory, and that’s good enough to keep it on the pull list.
And finally…

Blue Beetle #3
This would be the conclusion of the current story arc, and it’s pretty exposition-heavy.  It’s mostly an internal dialogue between Jaime and the suit, and he tries to talk it into letting him go so that his family knows he’s alive and well.  Meanwhile, government baddies are after him and the scarab, and the Brotherhood of Evil is getting involved as well.  This one’s really on the fence for me and the character isn’t enough of a draw to keep me coming back to a comic I’m not totally enjoying.
We’ll see how I feel next month, I guess.
This week’s winner:  Batman!  But also pick up Atomic Robo for totally different reasons.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff, Too!) – 11.16.11

 

 
Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)  – 11.16.11
I really need a new name for this column, I think.
So apologies for skipping last week, but I was out of town with only my phone connecting me to the outside world, and I just can’t get the hang of Comixology for Android.  All you need to know from last week:  Just go out and buy Batwoman, it’s the most beautifully drawn comic I’ve ever seen and it’s filled with complex and realistic characters who are in a world that’s trippy and surreal.  It’s just awesome. People have been asking me to review other things on my pull list besides DC, so last week I was all set to add my thoughts on Avenging Spider-Man (AWESOME!), New Avengers (a totally disappointing rehash of the Dark Avengers) and Point One (I have no idea what’s going on here but I think I’ll buy Scarlet Spider if it ever comes out).  This time, I’ll throw Deadpool #46 in there since I read it every month and never see reviews for it anywhere, and Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3.


Deadpool #46
One thing I really like about Marvel is that they have the little recap at the beginning of the issue, so that even if you’re picking up a title in the middle of a run you can catch up really quickly.  In this case, Deadpool was being stalked by a crazy doctor who kept his old body parts in her freezer, and they banded together to regenerate into an EVIL DEADPOOL.  And there you go, all caught up.  In a more general sense, I really like Deadpool as a character because it captures a lot of the fourth-wall breaking and general zaniness of Ambush Bug while sticking closer to the usual superhero tropes.  It’s a good combination and it’s a really easy comic to pick up and start reading.  This issue sees Wade trying to outsmart himself and failing spectacularly, as the two Deadpools want to engage in a fair firefight with bigger weapons, but neither can figure out a way to sneak around to the good stash without the other knowing what they’re doing in advance.  I particularly enjoyed Evil Deadpool blowing up Deadpool’s favourite chimichanga stand because it seemed like the EVIL thing to do.  As far as comics go, this is all very low-stakes stuff (and really, Deadpool is in no danger of actually dying or being harmed, so it mostly dispenses with the false suspense over his fate should he be, say, shot in the head point-blank) but it’s comfort food for me, like a psychotic Looney Tunes cartoon.   Recommended!

Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3
I have a friend who works for Red 5 Comics, but I’m happy to pimp this title anyway because it’s just terrific.  It’s got the fun, loose feel of the glory days of the Giffen Justice League, with nice bright clean artwork that’s easy to follow.  The story so far:  Atomic Robo gets lured into space by a false distress call from NASA, and blown up.  Now he’s searching for the organization with the ability to pull it off, as well as a giant house-sized supercomputer that provides the only clue to what they’re looking for.  The only problem is that the house (the Station X of the title) has vanished into thin air, which gives us a hilarious sequence with the finest nerds that the government can produce trying to figure out how.  The chalkboard gag in particular (Glitch in the matrix  REALLY LARGE TRUCK) is a nice bit of subtle humor that actually leads into a plot point when they discover how close to the truth it was.  Unfortunately, the light-hearted tone has an unfortunate turn when Robo cracks a joke about the “genius” who designed an Iphone not thinking about someone with metal hands like his, as the comic was written well before Steve Jobs died.  But that’s minor and out of their control.  This is just a fun, straight-forward action-adventure comic starring a wisecracking robot, and you should buy it.  Also recommended.
On with your regularly scheduled New 52.  As threatened, I dropped Nightwing, so no review here, I’m afraid.  As you’ll see, there’s another couple of titles on the bubble as well as I really start to thin out the herd…

Justice League #3
This is of course the flagship of the new DC, and thankfully the origin story is starting to pick up even more, with Wonder Woman coming to man’s world and kicking man’s ass.  The Flash-GL relationship continues to entertain (“Dibs”) and in the span of two pages Victor Stone goes from near-death into Cyborg.  Having T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo hanging around with Vic’s dad was a little cutesy for my liking (although a nice callback to Justice League history), but the JL cracks wise and blows up parademons real good, leading to the last major piece of the puzzle on the last page.  And I’m getting my $4 worth out of this book at least.  It’s still not a classic or anything, but the art is wonderful (until Jim Lee stops being able to get stuff done on time…) and I’m wanting to know what happens next.  It still feels too decompressed and I’m wanting things to just move to the damn present already so they can add all the other characters you know they’re going to, but I’m still liking it and will continue on.

Supergirl #3
At least these work pretty well as standalone issues.  After the fight with Superman in the second issue, Kara decides to fly off looking for her Kryptonian pod, only to meet 28 year old trillionaire Simon Tycho.  In a nice bit of plot device, the US government has decided to abandon space to the private sector, so Tycho builds his own space station and runs our heroine through a series of torture tests to determine what he’s dealing with.  This is all very elementary stuff, which is weird because you think people would know who Supergirl is and wouldn’t need three issues of what her powers are and the effects that Kryptonite has on her.  It’s interesting from the standpoint of seeing the story through the eyes of someone who is learning about those powers for the first time, but it just doesn’t feel like the story is proceeding anywhere yet.  I think this title is done for me.

Batman #3
Man, this comic just keeps chugging along at a high level, and I love it.  I still think they should swap Batman titles and have this one be Detective Comics, because Scott Snyder really has the feel of a Batman engaged in detective work rather than mindless asskicking.  But he’s got that too.  Gotham is being targeted by a mysterious group of owl-worshipping assassins who date back to turn-of-the-century Gotham (I feel like there’s a Jonah Hex crossover coming here soon), and have somehow managed to infiltrate super-secure Wayne Tower to make an attempt on Bruce’s life.  So after taking out five gangs of thugs in Gotham’s subway system (small question:  How the hell do the Whisper Gang members eat or even breathe?), Bruce goes hunting for owls, and the reveal of their secret is really creepy and effective stuff.  Obviously there’s some homage to Nite Owl of the Watchmen here, and again penciller Greg Capullo has fun with the medium, doing a POV shot through Batman’s cowl to great effect.  What’s also great is that this is about BATMAN, and Robin is nowhere to be seen because there’s already a “Batman and Robin” title out there.  And it’s a pretty good comic, too, by the way.  In fact, with the exception of the lumbering and stupid Dark Knight title, all the main Batbooks are at least worth picking up right now.  That’s a pretty good batting average, but this is the star of the team.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #3
As I believe I mentioned last month, I’ve given up on this trainwreck of a book being good in the conventional sense of the word, so now I’m more hoping for “entertaining crap” status out of it.  And in that, it’s starting to succeed.  Because hey, if you can’t be good, at least you can be batshit insane.  Pardon the pun.  I should point out that we’re three issues in and we still don’t know why these three people are together or what they’re after or much of anything, but here they fight a giant spiked dragon of some sort while hunting for a snow globe in a Himalayan fortress controlled by a creepy monk who reads their memories to provide the reader with backstory.  Now THAT is committing to your artform, my friends.  If you’re gonna be stupid, go all the way with it.  Honestly, I still have no earthly idea what’s happening in this series at any given moment, but all the ridiculous faux-hipster dialogue and meaningless action more than compensate by making Red Hood one of the most unintentionally hilarious comics in a long time.  I will keep supporting this endeavour of madness until it gets cancelled like it deserves!

Birds of Prey #3
I wasn’t feeling issue #2, but the third one, with the complete Birds team chasing after innocent people who have bombs planted in their head, is a tightly-paced little thriller that feels like it’s over too soon.  Plus the ending is a nice twist and kick in the head as well.  I’m not a huge fan of any of the team members so it’s hard for me to care overly much about the fate of anyone, especially since it’s essentially a hard reboot of all the characters anyway.  That being said, while it didn’t blow me away, the story continues to impress and carries this one to “above average” territory, and that’s good enough to keep it on the pull list.
And finally…

Blue Beetle #3
This would be the conclusion of the current story arc, and it’s pretty exposition-heavy.  It’s mostly an internal dialogue between Jaime and the suit, and he tries to talk it into letting him go so that his family knows he’s alive and well.  Meanwhile, government baddies are after him and the scarab, and the Brotherhood of Evil is getting involved as well.  This one’s really on the fence for me and the character isn’t enough of a draw to keep me coming back to a comic I’m not totally enjoying.
We’ll see how I feel next month, I guess.
This week’s winner:  Batman!  But also pick up Atomic Robo for totally different reasons.

Best In The World

Hey Scott,
After reading through the Prime thread and doing some of my own thinking, I have come up with a question for you.
Wrestlers have their years that they’re just…on, a year that they’re kicking ass in the ring, tearing it up on the mic and just delivering incredible promo after incredible promo.
1989: Ric Flair
1990: Ric Flair
1991:
1992:
1993:
1994: Bret Hart
1995:
1996: Steve Austin
1997: Shawn Michaels
1998:
1999:
2000: Triple H
2001:
2002:
2003: Brock Lesnar
2004:
2005: Samoa Joe
2006: Samoa Joe
2007:
2008:
2009: Chris Jericho
2010:
2011: CM Punk
How would you fill out the timeline and who would you add or remove from my list?

I’ll leave this one as an exercise to the readership because I can’t really judge much past 2005 or so.  How’s that for a cop-out? 

Best In The World

Hey Scott,
After reading through the Prime thread and doing some of my own thinking, I have come up with a question for you.
Wrestlers have their years that they’re just…on, a year that they’re kicking ass in the ring, tearing it up on the mic and just delivering incredible promo after incredible promo.
1989: Ric Flair
1990: Ric Flair
1991:
1992:
1993:
1994: Bret Hart
1995:
1996: Steve Austin
1997: Shawn Michaels
1998:
1999:
2000: Triple H
2001:
2002:
2003: Brock Lesnar
2004:
2005: Samoa Joe
2006: Samoa Joe
2007:
2008:
2009: Chris Jericho
2010:
2011: CM Punk
How would you fill out the timeline and who would you add or remove from my list?

I’ll leave this one as an exercise to the readership because I can’t really judge much past 2005 or so.  How’s that for a cop-out? 

Best In The World

Hey Scott,
After reading through the Prime thread and doing some of my own thinking, I have come up with a question for you.
Wrestlers have their years that they’re just…on, a year that they’re kicking ass in the ring, tearing it up on the mic and just delivering incredible promo after incredible promo.
1989: Ric Flair
1990: Ric Flair
1991:
1992:
1993:
1994: Bret Hart
1995:
1996: Steve Austin
1997: Shawn Michaels
1998:
1999:
2000: Triple H
2001:
2002:
2003: Brock Lesnar
2004:
2005: Samoa Joe
2006: Samoa Joe
2007:
2008:
2009: Chris Jericho
2010:
2011: CM Punk
How would you fill out the timeline and who would you add or remove from my list?

I’ll leave this one as an exercise to the readership because I can’t really judge much past 2005 or so.  How’s that for a cop-out? 

Survivor Series Countdown: 2001

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2001 – Live from Greensboro, NC – Your hosts are JR & Paul Heyman. – For time reasons (I’m doing this very early in the morning before work) I’m gonna ignore most of the backstage stuff because it’s all pretty pointless and drab. I’m also gonna ignore Heat, because it’s Heat.Opening match, European title: Christian v. Al Snow. Snow is growing the goatee back, thus adding 15 years to his face. Snow rides him down and works a headlock, for two. Rollup gets two. Pumphandle suplex gets two, but Christian cheapshots him and chokes him down. Legsweep gets two, and he hits the chinlock. Slugfest, but Christian suplexes him for two. More choking. They slug it out again, won by Snow. Snow clotheslines him from behind, evoking the spirit of Outback Jack (Cactus Jack’s Australian half-brother) and gets a superkick for two. Blind charge hits foot, however, but Snow recovers with a Snowbomb for two. Christian gets the inverted DDT (miscalled by JR as the Unprettier), but Snow suckers him into a cradle for two. Snow goes up, but his bodypress is reversed for two. Snowplow gets two. Snow celebrates early, Unprettier gets him at 6:31. Ain’t that always the way. Match was an okay opener, if meaningless in the long run. **1/4 – William Regal v. Tajiri. Tajiri goes all stiff on Regal, but gets rolled. Regal stiffs him right back with knees, but Tajiri dropkicks the knee and works it with more stiff kicks. Tarantula and handspring get two, but Tajiri gets his head caught in the ropes and passes out. Powerbomb is blocked by Tajiri, but he misses the big kick and takes the powerbomb on the second go-round at 2:59 for the pin. Is there some federal law preventing these guys from getting more than 3 minutes as of late? *1/2 Really stiff match. – US v. Intercontinental Unification: Test v. Edge. Apparently, according to JR, the winning title survives and the losing one is dissolved, so it’s dependant on the winner of this match, not on the winner of the overall war. Of course, they’ll probably forget that 24 hours later, but it’s nice to have that clarified. Stacy flirts again with Test backstage, prompting him to quip “Oh yeah, she wants me.” Lockup sequence to start, goes nowhere. Edge slugs away and a bodyblock gets one. Test pounds him, but Edge blocks a suplex and walks into a clothesline. Test chokes him down. They brawl out and Test drops him on the railing to take over. Back in, Edge gets that old dependable hiptoss/dropkick combo and he baseball slides Test on the floor and stomps away. Back in, neckbreaker gets two. Test hotshots him and gets a lariat to take over again. Corner clothesline and choking, and he hits the chinlock. Edge knees out of it, but Test knees back. Well, okay then. Blind charge misses for Test, Edge dropkicks him for two. Test gets the tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Another charge hits boot, but Edge whiffs on a bodypress. Test tries a superplex that is blocked after a long fight and reversed to a powerbomb attempt, but Test blocks THAT and comes off the top, but gets dropkicked on the way down to end a nice chain of stuff. Slugfest is won by Edge. Leg lariat and half-nelson bulldog get two. Test’s Meltdown is reversed to the Edge-O-Matic for two in another nice sequence. Test gets a spear for two, and he should really do that move more often. Big kick misses, but the Meltdown gets two. Powerbomb attempt is reversed by Edge to a rana, spear gets two. Impaler is blocked, but a reverse rollup gets it at 11:17 to unify the titles, presumably into the US title. Good build, could live without the fluke rollup win. ***  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course, they were unified into the IC title, which was then killed off along with the US title, before both of them were brought back from the dead in 2003.  But that’s wrestling for ya.)Tag team title unification match: The Hardy Boyz v. The Dudley Boyz. This is of course in a cage. Backstage, Matt is mysteriously detained in his locker room, and after leaving we find Trish emerging soon after. Very subtle buildup here. Matt starts with Bubba, and gets a clothesline. Double-teaming gets two. Bubba Bossman-slams Jeff for two. Tag team rules appear to be in effect, although the winning condition is both guys escaping or a pinfall on one. Really, it should be an either/or situation: Either both guys escape or both guys get pinned. If one escapes, then pinfalls should be negated and the other team should be forced to attempt escape themselves. Anyway, Jeff dropkicks D-Von, and the Hardyz work him over. Matt backslide gets two. D-Von suplexes him back for two. Matt gets caught in enemy territory and double-teamed, as Bubba gets a neckbreaker for two. Elbows gets two. Matt gets pounded, but comes back with a DDT on Bubba and tags Jeff. He cleans house, and it’s Poetry in Motion x 2. The tag rules appear to have been tossed out, so it’s PERMANENT BONZO GONZO! Hardyz climb and Matt legsweeps D-Von down, while Bubba takes Jeff to earth with a Bubbabomb. Bubba climbs but gets slammed off for two. Dudleyz flapjack that pesky Matt into the cage, then try the same with Jeff. Jeff, that cheeky monkey, grabs the cage and climbs, but Bubba stops him, nearly yanking his pants down in the process. The Dudleyz give him the Dudley Device for good measure. Double-team neckbreaker gets two. Dudleyz take turns avalanching Matt into the cage, and Jeff eats cage a couple of times. Dudleyz go up and both miss their moves, so Matt goes up and clotheslines both of them. Bubba eats cage. Matt neckbreakers D-Von for two. DDT on Bubba gets two. Double-backdrop on Bubba and both Hardyz go up for stereo legdrops that get two. Matt climbs again and gets hung upside down, so Jeff gets Wazzuped. Stacy gets the table, and faced with the problem of a locked cage, decides to use the 90s Feminist approach to getting her way: She flashes her ass at Nick Patrick and then steals the key. Who says the WWF demeans women? The Hardyz block 3D, however, and Matt manages to escape, thus leaving his brother all alone. Well, that was rather dumb. You’d think they’d learn something after watching the Jersey Boyz v. UT/Kane match at Summerslam where the same thing happened. Crowd is confused, thinking the Hardyz won when Matt escaped. D-Von eats cage, and JR clarifies something that I, as a non-wrestler, have often been confused about: It apparently DOES NOT taste like chocolate. Well, that’s a relief. Jeff climbs with D-Von laying on a table, but decides not to escape and thus win the match, electing instead to try a swanton off the top of a cage onto the table, much like Homer being tempted by the cursed donut of Satan. Mmmm, satanic donuts. Anyway, 3 seconds later and the Dudleyz get the pin for the unified tag titles at 15:41. Match was nothing we haven’t seen a million times before, but still decent enough. **3/4 – Mick Foley is at WWFNY, and I’ve gotta wonder why he doesn’t just pull out one of his magic contracts to solve his problems.  (2011 Scott sez:  If only he had a magic contract to keep WWF New York from going out of business)Test takes out Scotty 2 Hotty backstage and takes his place in the battle royale, thus giving away the finish right away. – Immunity Battle Royale: Stasiak gets tossed right away by Bradshaw. Palumbo looks remarkably like Razor Ramon in his new color-matched tights, I should point out. Hurricane goes up, but gets caught and vanquished by the APA. Albert slams Saturn out. Faarooq gets dumped by Test. DDP poses and gets tossed by Palumbo, but Justin and Storm kick him out in turn. Chavo & Hugh run in as free agents and start nailing guys at random, knocking Raven out of it in the process. Billy Gunn gets rid of them. Tazz dumps Crash & Dreamer at the same time, and Spike gets launched over the top and out. Bradshaw kills Stevie dead and disposes of the body. Tazz yaps at Paul and goes OUT…overthewallinleft via Billy Gunn. Everyone gangs up to rid us of Albert. Bradshaw sends Kidman packing. Final four: Gunn, Bradshaw, Storm, Test. Truly a who’s who of the wrestling world there. Bradshaw can’t put Storm out, so Test dumps both of them. Gunn goes for the Fameasser, misses, and the Big Kick puts him down and out at 7:41 to give Test the immunity idol. I don’t rate battle royales, but this one was no less shitty than every other one I’ve ever seen. – Another variation on the Creed video airs, burning five minutes. I don’t need commercial breaks on a PPV, guys.  (2011 Scott sez:  This interlude brought to you by Skittles, as featured in the new John Cena movie, on the WWE Network in 2012, and also by these DVDs and WWE Classics on Demand…)Women’s title match: Trish v. Jackie v. Lita v. Molly v. Ivory v. Jazz. I take that back, I’ll go with the music videos instead. Yes, Jazz is indeed the huge surprise entrant. No one cares, which is also not a big surprise. Jazz pounds Lita to start, but gets headscissored. Molly & Jackie go, and Molly wants a test of strength but gets to chopped. Hiptoss/dropkick from Jackie and Ivory tries. Jackie sunset flips her for two, and it turns into one of those silly Eddy-Dean parody sequences. Trish & Ivory go next, as Trish slingshots her into the ropes, but gets pounded down. Big schmoz erupts and everyone hits their finishers and then gets dumped, until it’s down to Trish & Ivory, which ends with a springboard bulldog from Trish for the pin at 4:22 to add yet another meaningless title held by a non-wrestler. Just what the world was waiting for. On the upside, at least it was short. ¾*  (2011 Scott sez:  I’ve since mellowed to Trish’s reign as champion somewhat.)Winner Take All: Big Show, Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho & The Rock v. Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle, RVD, Booker T & Steve Austin. Rock & Austin start with a slugfest. THESZ PRESS BY GAWD and FU elbow gets two. Rock does the same sequence right back for two. Booker pounds Rock, but gets clotheslined for two. Jericho comes in and flapjacks Booker. RVD & Jericho go and Y2J gets a leg lariat and suplex. Chops, but Rob gets the standing moonsault for two. Rana is blocked with the Walls, but Shane breaks. Angle & Kane next, and Kane tosses him around. Corner clothesline, but Angle gets a german suplex. Kane sits up, sideslams him, and hits the flying clothesline. Shane saves again. Taker pounds Angle, but eats elbow. Booker in, but he gets legdropped for two, brutha. Shane saves again. ROPEWALK OF DOOM and he works the arm. Clothesline gets two, Shane saves again. Austin stomps a mudhole on UT, and chokes him down, but gets clotheslined. ROPEWALK OF EVEN GREATER DOOM gets two. Shane saves again. Taker gets pounded in the corner, but doesn’t bother to sell any of it. Angle neckbreaker gets two. Taker DDTs him, hot tag Show. JR buries him, pointing out how he makes stupid mistakes all the time. Show tosses Angle around, but the chokeslam is reversed to the Angle Slam. Booker axe kicks him, RVD frog splashes him, and Shane gets the pin with the Macho Mac elbow at 12:41. Rock decides to fix that injustice by KILLING Shane, and then we go Kane chokeslam, Undertaker tombstone, Jericho Lionsault for the pin at 14:30 to get rid of Skippy. Shane may be legally dead. Jericho & Angle go now, and Jericho gets a forearm and butterfly backbreaker for two. Booker slams him a few times for lack of anything better to do and kneedrops him. RVD kicks away, but a sunset flip gets two. Kane comes in, big boot and clothesline follow. Rob kicks him in the head, but gets clotheslined. Kane pulls Booker in, but that’s stupid because RVD & Booker double-team him, and Rob frog splashes him and finishes with a missile dropkick at 18:19. No one to blame but himself for that. Taker goes next, stomping Rob. He pounds all the Alliance guys with running clotheslines and Last Rides Angle, but KICK WHAM STUNNER finishes him at 20:01. So it’s 4-on-2 and the dead weight is all gone before they got burned out. Jericho is out on the floor, leaving Rock alone. Booker hammers Rock, Rock hammers back…and gets sidekicked. Nice. DDT on Booker gets two. Booker pounds away, but gets samoan dropped for two. Rock rolls him up for the pin at 22:32. RVD comes in and pounds him, but goes up and gets slammed off for two. Hot tag Jericho, as he gets the forearm and a neckbreaker for two. Bulldog, but Lionsault misses and he takes a leg lariat. Moonsault from RVD misses, and Jericho finishes with the Breakdown at 24:50. Rock eats post outside while Angle chinlocks Jericho. Angle covers for two. Austin chops Jericho and superplexes him for two. They mess up a spot and Austin covers with a suplex for two. Elbow gets two. Angle’s suplex is reversed to an anklelock, but he breaks it and lariats him. Austin suplex and elbow and he chokes Jericho out. Angle pounds away, as does Austin, and he hits the chinlock. Slugfest, won by Jericho, oddly enough. Double KO, hot tag Rocky. Rock pounds Angle, sharpshooter finishes at 31:51. Jericho back in, bodypress is reversed for two. Thesz Press reversed to the Walls, but Austin reverses, and Jericho blocks. Austin comes off the top but gets caught, but the Lionsault misses and Austin gets two. Jericho missile dropkicks him for two. Rollup gets two, reversed by Austin for the pin at 34:32, and it’s Rock v. Austin again. Spinebuster, but Jericho turns on Rocky before he goes. Austin gets two. Austin stomps away, and tosses Rock. They brawl by the table, and Rock eats post again. Back in, Rock chops away, but gets Sharpshooted. He makes the ropes. Austin grabs the belt, but walks into another Sharpshooter from Rock, but makes the ropes himself. Austin goes low, but Rock goes KICK WHAM STUNNER…and Nick Patrick punks out Earl Hebner at two. Austin Rock Bottoms Rock for two, then nails Patrick in frustration. Hebner gets bumped AGAIN, KICK WHAM STUNNER, no ref. Angle runs in, nails Austin to turn back to the WWF (yawn), and Rock Bottom finishes the Alliance at 44:55, thank GOD. Match was a nice throwback to the Survivor Series’ of yore, although no one got pinned by a clothesline, although the psychology no longer works with the modern audience. Everyone knew what the order of elimination was going to be (with a bit of doubt in the UT/Kane/RVD/Booker combination) and that it was going to come down to Rock-Austin, so the crowd was hot for the first 10 minutes, dead for the next 20, and hot for the Rock-Austin portion again. Still, they gave it that old college try. **** – Oh, and of course who gets to get the final celebration on camera despite not doing anything? Vince. The Bottom Line: Funny how only the WWF can book the complete and total end of one faction, and yet still arrange things so that all the major players don’t go anywhere. The Dudleyz, Austin, Christian, Rob Van Dam…all title holders, and all exempt from the “end” of the Alliance as a result. Well, gee, that seems like most of the core group anyway. Except Booker, but we’re used to HIM getting screwed over by now. Not that we weren’t expecting them to ignore the stips anyway, but it would have been nice to at least maintain the illusion for ONE night. Anyway, a mediocre undercard and a pretty good, but disappointing main event don’t make this show enough for a recommendation, especially when it’s just going to be a $30 commercial for RAW anyway. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down for the “biggest night in the history of our sport.”

Survivor Series Countdown: 2001

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2001 – Live from Greensboro, NC – Your hosts are JR & Paul Heyman. – For time reasons (I’m doing this very early in the morning before work) I’m gonna ignore most of the backstage stuff because it’s all pretty pointless and drab. I’m also gonna ignore Heat, because it’s Heat.Opening match, European title: Christian v. Al Snow. Snow is growing the goatee back, thus adding 15 years to his face. Snow rides him down and works a headlock, for two. Rollup gets two. Pumphandle suplex gets two, but Christian cheapshots him and chokes him down. Legsweep gets two, and he hits the chinlock. Slugfest, but Christian suplexes him for two. More choking. They slug it out again, won by Snow. Snow clotheslines him from behind, evoking the spirit of Outback Jack (Cactus Jack’s Australian half-brother) and gets a superkick for two. Blind charge hits foot, however, but Snow recovers with a Snowbomb for two. Christian gets the inverted DDT (miscalled by JR as the Unprettier), but Snow suckers him into a cradle for two. Snow goes up, but his bodypress is reversed for two. Snowplow gets two. Snow celebrates early, Unprettier gets him at 6:31. Ain’t that always the way. Match was an okay opener, if meaningless in the long run. **1/4 – William Regal v. Tajiri. Tajiri goes all stiff on Regal, but gets rolled. Regal stiffs him right back with knees, but Tajiri dropkicks the knee and works it with more stiff kicks. Tarantula and handspring get two, but Tajiri gets his head caught in the ropes and passes out. Powerbomb is blocked by Tajiri, but he misses the big kick and takes the powerbomb on the second go-round at 2:59 for the pin. Is there some federal law preventing these guys from getting more than 3 minutes as of late? *1/2 Really stiff match. – US v. Intercontinental Unification: Test v. Edge. Apparently, according to JR, the winning title survives and the losing one is dissolved, so it’s dependant on the winner of this match, not on the winner of the overall war. Of course, they’ll probably forget that 24 hours later, but it’s nice to have that clarified. Stacy flirts again with Test backstage, prompting him to quip “Oh yeah, she wants me.” Lockup sequence to start, goes nowhere. Edge slugs away and a bodyblock gets one. Test pounds him, but Edge blocks a suplex and walks into a clothesline. Test chokes him down. They brawl out and Test drops him on the railing to take over. Back in, Edge gets that old dependable hiptoss/dropkick combo and he baseball slides Test on the floor and stomps away. Back in, neckbreaker gets two. Test hotshots him and gets a lariat to take over again. Corner clothesline and choking, and he hits the chinlock. Edge knees out of it, but Test knees back. Well, okay then. Blind charge misses for Test, Edge dropkicks him for two. Test gets the tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Another charge hits boot, but Edge whiffs on a bodypress. Test tries a superplex that is blocked after a long fight and reversed to a powerbomb attempt, but Test blocks THAT and comes off the top, but gets dropkicked on the way down to end a nice chain of stuff. Slugfest is won by Edge. Leg lariat and half-nelson bulldog get two. Test’s Meltdown is reversed to the Edge-O-Matic for two in another nice sequence. Test gets a spear for two, and he should really do that move more often. Big kick misses, but the Meltdown gets two. Powerbomb attempt is reversed by Edge to a rana, spear gets two. Impaler is blocked, but a reverse rollup gets it at 11:17 to unify the titles, presumably into the US title. Good build, could live without the fluke rollup win. ***  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course, they were unified into the IC title, which was then killed off along with the US title, before both of them were brought back from the dead in 2003.  But that’s wrestling for ya.)Tag team title unification match: The Hardy Boyz v. The Dudley Boyz. This is of course in a cage. Backstage, Matt is mysteriously detained in his locker room, and after leaving we find Trish emerging soon after. Very subtle buildup here. Matt starts with Bubba, and gets a clothesline. Double-teaming gets two. Bubba Bossman-slams Jeff for two. Tag team rules appear to be in effect, although the winning condition is both guys escaping or a pinfall on one. Really, it should be an either/or situation: Either both guys escape or both guys get pinned. If one escapes, then pinfalls should be negated and the other team should be forced to attempt escape themselves. Anyway, Jeff dropkicks D-Von, and the Hardyz work him over. Matt backslide gets two. D-Von suplexes him back for two. Matt gets caught in enemy territory and double-teamed, as Bubba gets a neckbreaker for two. Elbows gets two. Matt gets pounded, but comes back with a DDT on Bubba and tags Jeff. He cleans house, and it’s Poetry in Motion x 2. The tag rules appear to have been tossed out, so it’s PERMANENT BONZO GONZO! Hardyz climb and Matt legsweeps D-Von down, while Bubba takes Jeff to earth with a Bubbabomb. Bubba climbs but gets slammed off for two. Dudleyz flapjack that pesky Matt into the cage, then try the same with Jeff. Jeff, that cheeky monkey, grabs the cage and climbs, but Bubba stops him, nearly yanking his pants down in the process. The Dudleyz give him the Dudley Device for good measure. Double-team neckbreaker gets two. Dudleyz take turns avalanching Matt into the cage, and Jeff eats cage a couple of times. Dudleyz go up and both miss their moves, so Matt goes up and clotheslines both of them. Bubba eats cage. Matt neckbreakers D-Von for two. DDT on Bubba gets two. Double-backdrop on Bubba and both Hardyz go up for stereo legdrops that get two. Matt climbs again and gets hung upside down, so Jeff gets Wazzuped. Stacy gets the table, and faced with the problem of a locked cage, decides to use the 90s Feminist approach to getting her way: She flashes her ass at Nick Patrick and then steals the key. Who says the WWF demeans women? The Hardyz block 3D, however, and Matt manages to escape, thus leaving his brother all alone. Well, that was rather dumb. You’d think they’d learn something after watching the Jersey Boyz v. UT/Kane match at Summerslam where the same thing happened. Crowd is confused, thinking the Hardyz won when Matt escaped. D-Von eats cage, and JR clarifies something that I, as a non-wrestler, have often been confused about: It apparently DOES NOT taste like chocolate. Well, that’s a relief. Jeff climbs with D-Von laying on a table, but decides not to escape and thus win the match, electing instead to try a swanton off the top of a cage onto the table, much like Homer being tempted by the cursed donut of Satan. Mmmm, satanic donuts. Anyway, 3 seconds later and the Dudleyz get the pin for the unified tag titles at 15:41. Match was nothing we haven’t seen a million times before, but still decent enough. **3/4 – Mick Foley is at WWFNY, and I’ve gotta wonder why he doesn’t just pull out one of his magic contracts to solve his problems.  (2011 Scott sez:  If only he had a magic contract to keep WWF New York from going out of business)Test takes out Scotty 2 Hotty backstage and takes his place in the battle royale, thus giving away the finish right away. – Immunity Battle Royale: Stasiak gets tossed right away by Bradshaw. Palumbo looks remarkably like Razor Ramon in his new color-matched tights, I should point out. Hurricane goes up, but gets caught and vanquished by the APA. Albert slams Saturn out. Faarooq gets dumped by Test. DDP poses and gets tossed by Palumbo, but Justin and Storm kick him out in turn. Chavo & Hugh run in as free agents and start nailing guys at random, knocking Raven out of it in the process. Billy Gunn gets rid of them. Tazz dumps Crash & Dreamer at the same time, and Spike gets launched over the top and out. Bradshaw kills Stevie dead and disposes of the body. Tazz yaps at Paul and goes OUT…overthewallinleft via Billy Gunn. Everyone gangs up to rid us of Albert. Bradshaw sends Kidman packing. Final four: Gunn, Bradshaw, Storm, Test. Truly a who’s who of the wrestling world there. Bradshaw can’t put Storm out, so Test dumps both of them. Gunn goes for the Fameasser, misses, and the Big Kick puts him down and out at 7:41 to give Test the immunity idol. I don’t rate battle royales, but this one was no less shitty than every other one I’ve ever seen. – Another variation on the Creed video airs, burning five minutes. I don’t need commercial breaks on a PPV, guys.  (2011 Scott sez:  This interlude brought to you by Skittles, as featured in the new John Cena movie, on the WWE Network in 2012, and also by these DVDs and WWE Classics on Demand…)Women’s title match: Trish v. Jackie v. Lita v. Molly v. Ivory v. Jazz. I take that back, I’ll go with the music videos instead. Yes, Jazz is indeed the huge surprise entrant. No one cares, which is also not a big surprise. Jazz pounds Lita to start, but gets headscissored. Molly & Jackie go, and Molly wants a test of strength but gets to chopped. Hiptoss/dropkick from Jackie and Ivory tries. Jackie sunset flips her for two, and it turns into one of those silly Eddy-Dean parody sequences. Trish & Ivory go next, as Trish slingshots her into the ropes, but gets pounded down. Big schmoz erupts and everyone hits their finishers and then gets dumped, until it’s down to Trish & Ivory, which ends with a springboard bulldog from Trish for the pin at 4:22 to add yet another meaningless title held by a non-wrestler. Just what the world was waiting for. On the upside, at least it was short. ¾*  (2011 Scott sez:  I’ve since mellowed to Trish’s reign as champion somewhat.)Winner Take All: Big Show, Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho & The Rock v. Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle, RVD, Booker T & Steve Austin. Rock & Austin start with a slugfest. THESZ PRESS BY GAWD and FU elbow gets two. Rock does the same sequence right back for two. Booker pounds Rock, but gets clotheslined for two. Jericho comes in and flapjacks Booker. RVD & Jericho go and Y2J gets a leg lariat and suplex. Chops, but Rob gets the standing moonsault for two. Rana is blocked with the Walls, but Shane breaks. Angle & Kane next, and Kane tosses him around. Corner clothesline, but Angle gets a german suplex. Kane sits up, sideslams him, and hits the flying clothesline. Shane saves again. Taker pounds Angle, but eats elbow. Booker in, but he gets legdropped for two, brutha. Shane saves again. ROPEWALK OF DOOM and he works the arm. Clothesline gets two, Shane saves again. Austin stomps a mudhole on UT, and chokes him down, but gets clotheslined. ROPEWALK OF EVEN GREATER DOOM gets two. Shane saves again. Taker gets pounded in the corner, but doesn’t bother to sell any of it. Angle neckbreaker gets two. Taker DDTs him, hot tag Show. JR buries him, pointing out how he makes stupid mistakes all the time. Show tosses Angle around, but the chokeslam is reversed to the Angle Slam. Booker axe kicks him, RVD frog splashes him, and Shane gets the pin with the Macho Mac elbow at 12:41. Rock decides to fix that injustice by KILLING Shane, and then we go Kane chokeslam, Undertaker tombstone, Jericho Lionsault for the pin at 14:30 to get rid of Skippy. Shane may be legally dead. Jericho & Angle go now, and Jericho gets a forearm and butterfly backbreaker for two. Booker slams him a few times for lack of anything better to do and kneedrops him. RVD kicks away, but a sunset flip gets two. Kane comes in, big boot and clothesline follow. Rob kicks him in the head, but gets clotheslined. Kane pulls Booker in, but that’s stupid because RVD & Booker double-team him, and Rob frog splashes him and finishes with a missile dropkick at 18:19. No one to blame but himself for that. Taker goes next, stomping Rob. He pounds all the Alliance guys with running clotheslines and Last Rides Angle, but KICK WHAM STUNNER finishes him at 20:01. So it’s 4-on-2 and the dead weight is all gone before they got burned out. Jericho is out on the floor, leaving Rock alone. Booker hammers Rock, Rock hammers back…and gets sidekicked. Nice. DDT on Booker gets two. Booker pounds away, but gets samoan dropped for two. Rock rolls him up for the pin at 22:32. RVD comes in and pounds him, but goes up and gets slammed off for two. Hot tag Jericho, as he gets the forearm and a neckbreaker for two. Bulldog, but Lionsault misses and he takes a leg lariat. Moonsault from RVD misses, and Jericho finishes with the Breakdown at 24:50. Rock eats post outside while Angle chinlocks Jericho. Angle covers for two. Austin chops Jericho and superplexes him for two. They mess up a spot and Austin covers with a suplex for two. Elbow gets two. Angle’s suplex is reversed to an anklelock, but he breaks it and lariats him. Austin suplex and elbow and he chokes Jericho out. Angle pounds away, as does Austin, and he hits the chinlock. Slugfest, won by Jericho, oddly enough. Double KO, hot tag Rocky. Rock pounds Angle, sharpshooter finishes at 31:51. Jericho back in, bodypress is reversed for two. Thesz Press reversed to the Walls, but Austin reverses, and Jericho blocks. Austin comes off the top but gets caught, but the Lionsault misses and Austin gets two. Jericho missile dropkicks him for two. Rollup gets two, reversed by Austin for the pin at 34:32, and it’s Rock v. Austin again. Spinebuster, but Jericho turns on Rocky before he goes. Austin gets two. Austin stomps away, and tosses Rock. They brawl by the table, and Rock eats post again. Back in, Rock chops away, but gets Sharpshooted. He makes the ropes. Austin grabs the belt, but walks into another Sharpshooter from Rock, but makes the ropes himself. Austin goes low, but Rock goes KICK WHAM STUNNER…and Nick Patrick punks out Earl Hebner at two. Austin Rock Bottoms Rock for two, then nails Patrick in frustration. Hebner gets bumped AGAIN, KICK WHAM STUNNER, no ref. Angle runs in, nails Austin to turn back to the WWF (yawn), and Rock Bottom finishes the Alliance at 44:55, thank GOD. Match was a nice throwback to the Survivor Series’ of yore, although no one got pinned by a clothesline, although the psychology no longer works with the modern audience. Everyone knew what the order of elimination was going to be (with a bit of doubt in the UT/Kane/RVD/Booker combination) and that it was going to come down to Rock-Austin, so the crowd was hot for the first 10 minutes, dead for the next 20, and hot for the Rock-Austin portion again. Still, they gave it that old college try. **** – Oh, and of course who gets to get the final celebration on camera despite not doing anything? Vince. The Bottom Line: Funny how only the WWF can book the complete and total end of one faction, and yet still arrange things so that all the major players don’t go anywhere. The Dudleyz, Austin, Christian, Rob Van Dam…all title holders, and all exempt from the “end” of the Alliance as a result. Well, gee, that seems like most of the core group anyway. Except Booker, but we’re used to HIM getting screwed over by now. Not that we weren’t expecting them to ignore the stips anyway, but it would have been nice to at least maintain the illusion for ONE night. Anyway, a mediocre undercard and a pretty good, but disappointing main event don’t make this show enough for a recommendation, especially when it’s just going to be a $30 commercial for RAW anyway. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down for the “biggest night in the history of our sport.”

Survivor Series Countdown: 2001

The SmarK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2001 – Live from Greensboro, NC – Your hosts are JR & Paul Heyman. – For time reasons (I’m doing this very early in the morning before work) I’m gonna ignore most of the backstage stuff because it’s all pretty pointless and drab. I’m also gonna ignore Heat, because it’s Heat.Opening match, European title: Christian v. Al Snow. Snow is growing the goatee back, thus adding 15 years to his face. Snow rides him down and works a headlock, for two. Rollup gets two. Pumphandle suplex gets two, but Christian cheapshots him and chokes him down. Legsweep gets two, and he hits the chinlock. Slugfest, but Christian suplexes him for two. More choking. They slug it out again, won by Snow. Snow clotheslines him from behind, evoking the spirit of Outback Jack (Cactus Jack’s Australian half-brother) and gets a superkick for two. Blind charge hits foot, however, but Snow recovers with a Snowbomb for two. Christian gets the inverted DDT (miscalled by JR as the Unprettier), but Snow suckers him into a cradle for two. Snow goes up, but his bodypress is reversed for two. Snowplow gets two. Snow celebrates early, Unprettier gets him at 6:31. Ain’t that always the way. Match was an okay opener, if meaningless in the long run. **1/4 – William Regal v. Tajiri. Tajiri goes all stiff on Regal, but gets rolled. Regal stiffs him right back with knees, but Tajiri dropkicks the knee and works it with more stiff kicks. Tarantula and handspring get two, but Tajiri gets his head caught in the ropes and passes out. Powerbomb is blocked by Tajiri, but he misses the big kick and takes the powerbomb on the second go-round at 2:59 for the pin. Is there some federal law preventing these guys from getting more than 3 minutes as of late? *1/2 Really stiff match. – US v. Intercontinental Unification: Test v. Edge. Apparently, according to JR, the winning title survives and the losing one is dissolved, so it’s dependant on the winner of this match, not on the winner of the overall war. Of course, they’ll probably forget that 24 hours later, but it’s nice to have that clarified. Stacy flirts again with Test backstage, prompting him to quip “Oh yeah, she wants me.” Lockup sequence to start, goes nowhere. Edge slugs away and a bodyblock gets one. Test pounds him, but Edge blocks a suplex and walks into a clothesline. Test chokes him down. They brawl out and Test drops him on the railing to take over. Back in, Edge gets that old dependable hiptoss/dropkick combo and he baseball slides Test on the floor and stomps away. Back in, neckbreaker gets two. Test hotshots him and gets a lariat to take over again. Corner clothesline and choking, and he hits the chinlock. Edge knees out of it, but Test knees back. Well, okay then. Blind charge misses for Test, Edge dropkicks him for two. Test gets the tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Another charge hits boot, but Edge whiffs on a bodypress. Test tries a superplex that is blocked after a long fight and reversed to a powerbomb attempt, but Test blocks THAT and comes off the top, but gets dropkicked on the way down to end a nice chain of stuff. Slugfest is won by Edge. Leg lariat and half-nelson bulldog get two. Test’s Meltdown is reversed to the Edge-O-Matic for two in another nice sequence. Test gets a spear for two, and he should really do that move more often. Big kick misses, but the Meltdown gets two. Powerbomb attempt is reversed by Edge to a rana, spear gets two. Impaler is blocked, but a reverse rollup gets it at 11:17 to unify the titles, presumably into the US title. Good build, could live without the fluke rollup win. ***  (2011 Scott sez:  Of course, they were unified into the IC title, which was then killed off along with the US title, before both of them were brought back from the dead in 2003.  But that’s wrestling for ya.)Tag team title unification match: The Hardy Boyz v. The Dudley Boyz. This is of course in a cage. Backstage, Matt is mysteriously detained in his locker room, and after leaving we find Trish emerging soon after. Very subtle buildup here. Matt starts with Bubba, and gets a clothesline. Double-teaming gets two. Bubba Bossman-slams Jeff for two. Tag team rules appear to be in effect, although the winning condition is both guys escaping or a pinfall on one. Really, it should be an either/or situation: Either both guys escape or both guys get pinned. If one escapes, then pinfalls should be negated and the other team should be forced to attempt escape themselves. Anyway, Jeff dropkicks D-Von, and the Hardyz work him over. Matt backslide gets two. D-Von suplexes him back for two. Matt gets caught in enemy territory and double-teamed, as Bubba gets a neckbreaker for two. Elbows gets two. Matt gets pounded, but comes back with a DDT on Bubba and tags Jeff. He cleans house, and it’s Poetry in Motion x 2. The tag rules appear to have been tossed out, so it’s PERMANENT BONZO GONZO! Hardyz climb and Matt legsweeps D-Von down, while Bubba takes Jeff to earth with a Bubbabomb. Bubba climbs but gets slammed off for two. Dudleyz flapjack that pesky Matt into the cage, then try the same with Jeff. Jeff, that cheeky monkey, grabs the cage and climbs, but Bubba stops him, nearly yanking his pants down in the process. The Dudleyz give him the Dudley Device for good measure. Double-team neckbreaker gets two. Dudleyz take turns avalanching Matt into the cage, and Jeff eats cage a couple of times. Dudleyz go up and both miss their moves, so Matt goes up and clotheslines both of them. Bubba eats cage. Matt neckbreakers D-Von for two. DDT on Bubba gets two. Double-backdrop on Bubba and both Hardyz go up for stereo legdrops that get two. Matt climbs again and gets hung upside down, so Jeff gets Wazzuped. Stacy gets the table, and faced with the problem of a locked cage, decides to use the 90s Feminist approach to getting her way: She flashes her ass at Nick Patrick and then steals the key. Who says the WWF demeans women? The Hardyz block 3D, however, and Matt manages to escape, thus leaving his brother all alone. Well, that was rather dumb. You’d think they’d learn something after watching the Jersey Boyz v. UT/Kane match at Summerslam where the same thing happened. Crowd is confused, thinking the Hardyz won when Matt escaped. D-Von eats cage, and JR clarifies something that I, as a non-wrestler, have often been confused about: It apparently DOES NOT taste like chocolate. Well, that’s a relief. Jeff climbs with D-Von laying on a table, but decides not to escape and thus win the match, electing instead to try a swanton off the top of a cage onto the table, much like Homer being tempted by the cursed donut of Satan. Mmmm, satanic donuts. Anyway, 3 seconds later and the Dudleyz get the pin for the unified tag titles at 15:41. Match was nothing we haven’t seen a million times before, but still decent enough. **3/4 – Mick Foley is at WWFNY, and I’ve gotta wonder why he doesn’t just pull out one of his magic contracts to solve his problems.  (2011 Scott sez:  If only he had a magic contract to keep WWF New York from going out of business)Test takes out Scotty 2 Hotty backstage and takes his place in the battle royale, thus giving away the finish right away. – Immunity Battle Royale: Stasiak gets tossed right away by Bradshaw. Palumbo looks remarkably like Razor Ramon in his new color-matched tights, I should point out. Hurricane goes up, but gets caught and vanquished by the APA. Albert slams Saturn out. Faarooq gets dumped by Test. DDP poses and gets tossed by Palumbo, but Justin and Storm kick him out in turn. Chavo & Hugh run in as free agents and start nailing guys at random, knocking Raven out of it in the process. Billy Gunn gets rid of them. Tazz dumps Crash & Dreamer at the same time, and Spike gets launched over the top and out. Bradshaw kills Stevie dead and disposes of the body. Tazz yaps at Paul and goes OUT…overthewallinleft via Billy Gunn. Everyone gangs up to rid us of Albert. Bradshaw sends Kidman packing. Final four: Gunn, Bradshaw, Storm, Test. Truly a who’s who of the wrestling world there. Bradshaw can’t put Storm out, so Test dumps both of them. Gunn goes for the Fameasser, misses, and the Big Kick puts him down and out at 7:41 to give Test the immunity idol. I don’t rate battle royales, but this one was no less shitty than every other one I’ve ever seen. – Another variation on the Creed video airs, burning five minutes. I don’t need commercial breaks on a PPV, guys.  (2011 Scott sez:  This interlude brought to you by Skittles, as featured in the new John Cena movie, on the WWE Network in 2012, and also by these DVDs and WWE Classics on Demand…)Women’s title match: Trish v. Jackie v. Lita v. Molly v. Ivory v. Jazz. I take that back, I’ll go with the music videos instead. Yes, Jazz is indeed the huge surprise entrant. No one cares, which is also not a big surprise. Jazz pounds Lita to start, but gets headscissored. Molly & Jackie go, and Molly wants a test of strength but gets to chopped. Hiptoss/dropkick from Jackie and Ivory tries. Jackie sunset flips her for two, and it turns into one of those silly Eddy-Dean parody sequences. Trish & Ivory go next, as Trish slingshots her into the ropes, but gets pounded down. Big schmoz erupts and everyone hits their finishers and then gets dumped, until it’s down to Trish & Ivory, which ends with a springboard bulldog from Trish for the pin at 4:22 to add yet another meaningless title held by a non-wrestler. Just what the world was waiting for. On the upside, at least it was short. ¾*  (2011 Scott sez:  I’ve since mellowed to Trish’s reign as champion somewhat.)Winner Take All: Big Show, Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho & The Rock v. Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle, RVD, Booker T & Steve Austin. Rock & Austin start with a slugfest. THESZ PRESS BY GAWD and FU elbow gets two. Rock does the same sequence right back for two. Booker pounds Rock, but gets clotheslined for two. Jericho comes in and flapjacks Booker. RVD & Jericho go and Y2J gets a leg lariat and suplex. Chops, but Rob gets the standing moonsault for two. Rana is blocked with the Walls, but Shane breaks. Angle & Kane next, and Kane tosses him around. Corner clothesline, but Angle gets a german suplex. Kane sits up, sideslams him, and hits the flying clothesline. Shane saves again. Taker pounds Angle, but eats elbow. Booker in, but he gets legdropped for two, brutha. Shane saves again. ROPEWALK OF DOOM and he works the arm. Clothesline gets two, Shane saves again. Austin stomps a mudhole on UT, and chokes him down, but gets clotheslined. ROPEWALK OF EVEN GREATER DOOM gets two. Shane saves again. Taker gets pounded in the corner, but doesn’t bother to sell any of it. Angle neckbreaker gets two. Taker DDTs him, hot tag Show. JR buries him, pointing out how he makes stupid mistakes all the time. Show tosses Angle around, but the chokeslam is reversed to the Angle Slam. Booker axe kicks him, RVD frog splashes him, and Shane gets the pin with the Macho Mac elbow at 12:41. Rock decides to fix that injustice by KILLING Shane, and then we go Kane chokeslam, Undertaker tombstone, Jericho Lionsault for the pin at 14:30 to get rid of Skippy. Shane may be legally dead. Jericho & Angle go now, and Jericho gets a forearm and butterfly backbreaker for two. Booker slams him a few times for lack of anything better to do and kneedrops him. RVD kicks away, but a sunset flip gets two. Kane comes in, big boot and clothesline follow. Rob kicks him in the head, but gets clotheslined. Kane pulls Booker in, but that’s stupid because RVD & Booker double-team him, and Rob frog splashes him and finishes with a missile dropkick at 18:19. No one to blame but himself for that. Taker goes next, stomping Rob. He pounds all the Alliance guys with running clotheslines and Last Rides Angle, but KICK WHAM STUNNER finishes him at 20:01. So it’s 4-on-2 and the dead weight is all gone before they got burned out. Jericho is out on the floor, leaving Rock alone. Booker hammers Rock, Rock hammers back…and gets sidekicked. Nice. DDT on Booker gets two. Booker pounds away, but gets samoan dropped for two. Rock rolls him up for the pin at 22:32. RVD comes in and pounds him, but goes up and gets slammed off for two. Hot tag Jericho, as he gets the forearm and a neckbreaker for two. Bulldog, but Lionsault misses and he takes a leg lariat. Moonsault from RVD misses, and Jericho finishes with the Breakdown at 24:50. Rock eats post outside while Angle chinlocks Jericho. Angle covers for two. Austin chops Jericho and superplexes him for two. They mess up a spot and Austin covers with a suplex for two. Elbow gets two. Angle’s suplex is reversed to an anklelock, but he breaks it and lariats him. Austin suplex and elbow and he chokes Jericho out. Angle pounds away, as does Austin, and he hits the chinlock. Slugfest, won by Jericho, oddly enough. Double KO, hot tag Rocky. Rock pounds Angle, sharpshooter finishes at 31:51. Jericho back in, bodypress is reversed for two. Thesz Press reversed to the Walls, but Austin reverses, and Jericho blocks. Austin comes off the top but gets caught, but the Lionsault misses and Austin gets two. Jericho missile dropkicks him for two. Rollup gets two, reversed by Austin for the pin at 34:32, and it’s Rock v. Austin again. Spinebuster, but Jericho turns on Rocky before he goes. Austin gets two. Austin stomps away, and tosses Rock. They brawl by the table, and Rock eats post again. Back in, Rock chops away, but gets Sharpshooted. He makes the ropes. Austin grabs the belt, but walks into another Sharpshooter from Rock, but makes the ropes himself. Austin goes low, but Rock goes KICK WHAM STUNNER…and Nick Patrick punks out Earl Hebner at two. Austin Rock Bottoms Rock for two, then nails Patrick in frustration. Hebner gets bumped AGAIN, KICK WHAM STUNNER, no ref. Angle runs in, nails Austin to turn back to the WWF (yawn), and Rock Bottom finishes the Alliance at 44:55, thank GOD. Match was a nice throwback to the Survivor Series’ of yore, although no one got pinned by a clothesline, although the psychology no longer works with the modern audience. Everyone knew what the order of elimination was going to be (with a bit of doubt in the UT/Kane/RVD/Booker combination) and that it was going to come down to Rock-Austin, so the crowd was hot for the first 10 minutes, dead for the next 20, and hot for the Rock-Austin portion again. Still, they gave it that old college try. **** – Oh, and of course who gets to get the final celebration on camera despite not doing anything? Vince. The Bottom Line: Funny how only the WWF can book the complete and total end of one faction, and yet still arrange things so that all the major players don’t go anywhere. The Dudleyz, Austin, Christian, Rob Van Dam…all title holders, and all exempt from the “end” of the Alliance as a result. Well, gee, that seems like most of the core group anyway. Except Booker, but we’re used to HIM getting screwed over by now. Not that we weren’t expecting them to ignore the stips anyway, but it would have been nice to at least maintain the illusion for ONE night. Anyway, a mediocre undercard and a pretty good, but disappointing main event don’t make this show enough for a recommendation, especially when it’s just going to be a $30 commercial for RAW anyway. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down for the “biggest night in the history of our sport.”

Survivor Series Countdown: 2000

The SK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2000 – Was I not watching the same PPV as everyone else on the ‘net who seem to be giving it glowing reviews or were there just sunspots altering my perception of what was I watching?– Before we get to the PPV, I thought I’d give a few quick thoughts on the new WWF game, No Mercy. Basically, my biggest gripe with it is that it’s essentially the same game as WM2000 and Revenge and the other THQ WWF games. There’s not that much in the way of technical innovations here, unless you count horrific slowdown in 4-player games as innovative. THQ/Asmik, despite having a better name than Acclaim at this point with regard to the wrestling video game genre, seems to falling into the same trap of producing the same game ad infinitum with a few added features here and there, plus vague promises of other ones that never seem to materialize. I mean, how hard is it to allow editing of pre-made wrestlers, for god’s sake? Further, the silly “Essa Rios is as tall as Andre the Giant” thing is still there, as are the numerous collision detection and camera problems that never seem to be fixed. Ring entrances are edited down to no longer include in-ring antics, but that’s understandable for space reasons. Guest ref mode is also added, and works about the same as in Smackdown. It took me a while to figure out that you have to focus on the guy who you want to count for and what button to use, but no biggie there. The ladder matches rock it old school, and nothing compares to tossing weapons at your friends. The rest is just the same as usual, however, and probably isn’t worth the $60-$80 you’ll have to drop on it. It’s game like this that really makes me wonder why no one is willing to develop wrestling games for the PC – your average GeForce card can easily handle the polygons needed to kill the N64’s version of this, plus the sound and video would be 100x better, plus updates and patches could be issued or sold as needed. Oh well. (2011 Scott sez:  What the FUCK was I smoking?  No Mercy is of course the greatest wrestling game ever made, by far.  And who would pay $80 for an N64 cartridge anyway?  Did we really used to do that?) – Live from Tampa, Florida. – Your hosts are JR & The King. – Opening match: T&A and Trish Stratus v. Crash & Molly & Steve Blackman. Probably wouldn’t be my choice of an opener. Albert & Blackman kick each other to start, then Crash comes in and gets tossed around. Molly & Trish go, as Trish runs away soon after. Crash hits a quick rana on Test for two. Crash gets beat up. Hot tag Molly, and she kills Trish, but gets tripped up by Test. Pier-six erupts, and Trish bulldogs Molly for two. Molly gets a sunset flip on Trish for the pin at 5:03. Basic Smackdown match here. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Edge & Christian do a pre-emptive ducking-out of helping Angle win, but he just wants to celebrate later. – Meanwhile, Lo Down gets stopped by security because no one knows who they are. I love shoot angles that aren’t supposed to be shoot angles. – K-Kwik, Road Dogg, Mr. One Smoking Ass Rockabilly G & Chyna v. The Radicalz. The rapping thing is NOT helping anyone and a mercy killing would seem to be in order. (2011 Scott sez:  And yet K-Kwik is main-eventing Survivor Series this year.  Goes to show how things change in wrestling).  Radicalz are once again color coordinated, this time in Killer Bee yellow and black. Gunn & Chyna double-team Saturn. Chyna powerslam gets two. DDT gets two after a messed-up lowblow. How hard is it, REALLY, to extend your leg backwards and bend at the knee? Eddy blasts Chyna with the belt and Saturn pins her. Good riddance. Road Dogg goes next, but gets suplexed. Eddy beats him up, and dropkicks the knee to block the funky punches. Radicalz work on the knee. Hot tag Gunn, and he gets beat down, too. Drop sleeper on Eddy gets the pin. Isn’t it amazing how Eddy jobs constantly and is yet still over, while Gunn wins constantly and still isn’t? How about that. K-Kwik gets his time to do his thing with Malenko, and smartly they let him do a sequence with Benoit. That one ends via a Benoit german suplex soon after. Road Dogg & Saturn do a boring bit, and Saturn suplexes him for the pin soon after, leaving Billy boy 3-on-1. A fameasser gets rid of Malenko, but Gunn is GASSED and hardly able to stand up. Get this man some oxygen and a steroid needle, STAT! Benoit headbutt gets two. Gunn suplex is blocked by Saturn and Benoit falls on top for the winning pin at 12:41, leaving Benoit & Saturn as your sole survivors. Wow, the Radz actually WIN A MATCH! ** – Chris Jericho v. Kane. Slugfest to start. Jericho dropkicks Kane out and baseball slides him. Tope follows and they brawl. That goes on for a bit, and Jericho dropkicks the stairs into him in a bad-looking spot. Back in, Kane powerslam gets two. He spikes Jericho and the boring chants start as he pounds away. Kane gets a hangman, a move not seen in a while. Jericho escapes, and Kane pulls off the turnbuckle. Kane pounds him down again, and casually tosses him out to the floor. JR completely oversells the drama here, and if I have to hear one more “He’s small, but he’s spunky and never-say-die speech” again from Ross I’m gonna barf all over my keyboard. Okay, it worked ONCE with Shawn Michaels, but then Shawn had nearly autonomous political power behind the scenes and actually got guys who would SELL for him and (gasp) LOSE once in a while. Back in, Kane goes aerial, but gets crotched. He tries again and Jericho dropkicks him in mid-air. Jericho trips him up and hits a missile dropkick for two. Rollup gets two. Jericho allegedly tries the Walls of Jericho, but it ends up being more of a Boston Crab because Kane doesn’t know how to sell the move properly and isn’t flexible enough to do it right. He powers out (what a shock) and catches Jericho on the Lionsault, then chokeslams him for the pin at 12:35. Notice how Kane gets to escape both of Jericho’s finishes, but one chokeslam kills Jericho dead. Welcome to midcard hell, Chris, hope you enjoyed your cup of coffee with credibility. Nyuk nyuk. (2011 Scott sez:  Well at least he’d go on to win the World title a few times) ** Match was at least better than I had feared it would be. – European title match: William Regal v. Hardcore Holly. This is an odd pairing, to say the least. Hardcore Holly is an interesting case, because he has easy and marketable heat with Kurt Angle, but the WWF is obviously set in the thinking that Holly will never be higher than midcard, so they simply refuse to acknowledge any heat he might get that would suggest otherwise. Cf. Billy Gunn, where the opposite happens and the WWF ONLY acknowledges heat that suggests what they want. Not that I think Holly should be main eventing or anything, but he at least deserves as much of a shot at it as Mr. Gass has gotten. (2011 Scott sez:  HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA, fuck Bob Holly) Regal works the mat and tortures Bob’s arm for a few minutes, before Holly gets flustered and grabs the title belt for the cheap DQ at 5:48. And that’s that. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Trish hits on Angle, but he’s clueless. I’ve given up on this angle ever going anywhere, so now I just chuckle at the innuendo and move on.  (2011 Scott sez:  Never did go anywhere.)The Rock v. Rikishi. Wow, shunted pretty far down the card, Rocky. Slugfest to start, as Rock blasts him and grabs a chair, but is prevented from using it. Rikishi hits a superkick and big elbow. Legdrop injures Rock’s chest further, thus marking the only time I can ever remember where Rock sold an injury on THREE consecutive WWF shows (RAW, Smackdown, PPV) without giving into the impulse to do a superman comeback. I suppose you could go back to 1999 when HHH was breaking his arm with a sledgehammer and a casket, but even then it seemed like more of an inconvenience than an injury at the time. Sideslam gets two. Rock dumps Rikishi. Ref is bumped outside, so Rikishi grabs the SLEDGEHAMMER OF PLOT and books WCW for a few months. No wait, he actually takes a swing at Rock and runs into a Rock Bottom. No ref. Rikishi comes back with a falling headbutt and samoan drop, and a buttdrop gets two. CHEEKS OF FIRE, and Rock takes the Stinkface?! Wow, talk about sucking it up for the company. I hope not literally. Rock comes booming out of the corner like Tammy Sytch charging for a discarded crack pipe in the gutter, and hits a lariat. Spinebuster, but he’s still injured. He manages to hit the People’s Elbow (good thing he had the adrenaline surge to wave his arms in the air like that, or else the move might have just looked stupid) and gets the pin at 11:20. Despite the idiocy of JR selling the Elbow as so devastating that Rikishi had to be pinned by it, this match was about a billion times better than it had any right to be. ***1/4 Rikishi then destroys my goodwill by hitting four Banzai drops, making me wonder “why the hell didn’t he just go over in the first place?” but then that’s the WWF for ya. – Women’s title match: Ivory v. Lita. Lita kicks and punches to start, and Ivory potatoes her so hard that she bleeds hardway from the eye. Ouch. Ivory stomps away. Lita nearly breaks Ivory’s neck with a rana, driving her right on her head. Get this chick some training, STAT. She hits a plancha on Ivory & Steven, and back in for a bodypress that gets two. Moonsault misses, and another one hits the knees and Ivory gets the pin to retain at 4:52. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I’m sure this RTC thing is very amusing for Vince and his cronies but for those of us who have to watch the matches it’s getting ugly. DUD – Meanwhile, Jericho beats the hell out of Kane in the back, guaranteeing that the feud will be dragged out for another PPV. “You want cream and sugar with that, BITCH?” – WWF title match: Kurt Angle v. The Undertaker. We take a moment of silence to reflect on the first year of the Angle Era, then Kurt lists all his top moments for us. UT is wearing the most incredibly old-person-looking pair of slacks I’ve ever seen tonight. “Hey, kid, get off my barcalounger before I call the cops and tie you to the learning tree!” Angle pounds away to start, but UT hits the big boot and legdrop and it’s all over! Undertakermania is running wild, brother! Okay, so it only gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. Taker picks him up both times. Ropewalk follows, and Angle runs away. Back in, Angle suplex gets two. Outside, UT posts Angle, twice. Doesn’t go anywhere, as Angle works the knee back in the ring until Taker suddenly hits a Fujiwara armbar out of nowhere. Angle is tapping, but Edge & Christian break their promise and run in anyway, distracting the ref. Angle keeps working the knee. Yawn. Chokeslam, ref is still busy. Russian legsweep gets two. Angle gets a figure-four, UT reverses. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Angle goes back to the knee, and hooks the Bret Hart ringpost figure-four. Bret got more coverage than anyone else on the show tonight, with his name being mentioned seemingly once every five minutes until everyone in the room was halfway convinced he’d be there in some form. UT goes for the tombstone, but Angle bails and heads under the ring, where Steve Keirn is waiting in a Doink costume. What a social faux pas. UT pulls Angle out, Last Ride…but it only gets two, because it’s not really Angle. Oh, dear god, they ARE recycling the Doink angle from 1993. I hate being right sometimes. The REAL Angle rolls up the confused Undertaker for the pin at 16:17 as I groan. Match was again about a billion times better than I had feared, but that ending…UGH. (2011 Scott sez:  And they recycled it AGAIN with Eric Angle in 2003!)Maybe Kurt can bring Brian Lee back now as his own personal Undertaker. **3/4 Would have been higher if all the attempted psychology would have led anywhere. – Edge & Christian & Bull & Goodfather v. The Hardy Boyz & The Dudley Boyz. Bull & Buh Buh start. Bull handles both Duds, and D-Von gets beat on. Hot tag Matt, but Edge gets an inverted X-Factor (called an “edge-o-matic”) for the first pin. Christian quickly hits the tomikaze on D-Von for the pin. Jeff moonsaults Christian for two, but eats post. Bull misses a charge, and hot tag to Buh Buh follows. He takes care of business, and Edge spears Bull by mistake for the pin. Atomic bomb on Edge gets him. Goodfather DVDs Buh Buh for the pin, leaving Goodfather & Christian v. Jeff Hardy. Jeff dodges Christian and hits the swanton, leaving Goodfather, and that ends as the Ho Train misses and Jeff gets the pin at 10:05. Kinda rushed and RAW-ish all around. *1/4 All the RTC guys go through tables. The point here continues to elude me. – Steve Austin v. HHH. Austin whoops Hunter to start, and they punch each other. Thesz press and elbow from Austin, and they brawl outside. Not much happens, crowd’s dead. Back to the ring, Austin nails him with a monitor and he does his traditional bladejob. Austin sits and grabs a couple of beers. Finally we head back into the ring. Kick and punch, and HHH reverses the KICK WHAM STUNNER with a neckbreaker, but can’t capitalize. More kicking and punching gets two for HHH. Austin spinebuster, but the second rope elbow misses. Back outside, more weak brawling. HHH gets backdropped through a table. Back in, it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER, but Austin doesn’t want the pin. He grabs a chair and tries to Pillmanize HHH, but he escapes and they fight to the back. The Radicalz attack and beat Austin down, but since none of them are tippety-top guys they just provide a distraction while HHH warms up the car. Austin counters with a forklift, however, and drops HHH, car and all, 15 feet in the air onto the concrete, which in all likelihood should have killed him in real life. I don’t quite see how that’s not worse than HHH running Austin down last year, but maybe that’s just me. Besides, I’m sure that with a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, HHH’s death will be downgraded to a 6-8 recuperation period and some rehabilitation before returning from the afterlife to do a run-in at Royal Rumble. Ah, the Sportz Entertainment Finish, god bless the legacy of Vince Russo. No contest at 25:00 or so. *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  Oh COME ON.  That match has gotta be better than *1/2.  I should grab the DVD and check it out again this week.) The Bottom Line: If this stuff is going anywhere, I don’t see it. This was an obvious slapped-together card as Vince seems to be too busy auditioning cheerleaders for the XFL to pay attention to the company that actually makes him money. I’m getting really tired of every major match being “such-and-such was screwed!” or “This feud isn’t over, not by a long shot!” without much “He’s the better man, so he won” to balance things out a bit. I guess that wouldn’t have Attitude, though. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down for a subpar show that was actually a bit better than I expected, but not enough to be, you know, good.

Survivor Series Countdown: 2000

The SK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2000 – Was I not watching the same PPV as everyone else on the ‘net who seem to be giving it glowing reviews or were there just sunspots altering my perception of what was I watching?– Before we get to the PPV, I thought I’d give a few quick thoughts on the new WWF game, No Mercy. Basically, my biggest gripe with it is that it’s essentially the same game as WM2000 and Revenge and the other THQ WWF games. There’s not that much in the way of technical innovations here, unless you count horrific slowdown in 4-player games as innovative. THQ/Asmik, despite having a better name than Acclaim at this point with regard to the wrestling video game genre, seems to falling into the same trap of producing the same game ad infinitum with a few added features here and there, plus vague promises of other ones that never seem to materialize. I mean, how hard is it to allow editing of pre-made wrestlers, for god’s sake? Further, the silly “Essa Rios is as tall as Andre the Giant” thing is still there, as are the numerous collision detection and camera problems that never seem to be fixed. Ring entrances are edited down to no longer include in-ring antics, but that’s understandable for space reasons. Guest ref mode is also added, and works about the same as in Smackdown. It took me a while to figure out that you have to focus on the guy who you want to count for and what button to use, but no biggie there. The ladder matches rock it old school, and nothing compares to tossing weapons at your friends. The rest is just the same as usual, however, and probably isn’t worth the $60-$80 you’ll have to drop on it. It’s game like this that really makes me wonder why no one is willing to develop wrestling games for the PC – your average GeForce card can easily handle the polygons needed to kill the N64’s version of this, plus the sound and video would be 100x better, plus updates and patches could be issued or sold as needed. Oh well. (2011 Scott sez:  What the FUCK was I smoking?  No Mercy is of course the greatest wrestling game ever made, by far.  And who would pay $80 for an N64 cartridge anyway?  Did we really used to do that?) – Live from Tampa, Florida. – Your hosts are JR & The King. – Opening match: T&A and Trish Stratus v. Crash & Molly & Steve Blackman. Probably wouldn’t be my choice of an opener. Albert & Blackman kick each other to start, then Crash comes in and gets tossed around. Molly & Trish go, as Trish runs away soon after. Crash hits a quick rana on Test for two. Crash gets beat up. Hot tag Molly, and she kills Trish, but gets tripped up by Test. Pier-six erupts, and Trish bulldogs Molly for two. Molly gets a sunset flip on Trish for the pin at 5:03. Basic Smackdown match here. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Edge & Christian do a pre-emptive ducking-out of helping Angle win, but he just wants to celebrate later. – Meanwhile, Lo Down gets stopped by security because no one knows who they are. I love shoot angles that aren’t supposed to be shoot angles. – K-Kwik, Road Dogg, Mr. One Smoking Ass Rockabilly G & Chyna v. The Radicalz. The rapping thing is NOT helping anyone and a mercy killing would seem to be in order. (2011 Scott sez:  And yet K-Kwik is main-eventing Survivor Series this year.  Goes to show how things change in wrestling).  Radicalz are once again color coordinated, this time in Killer Bee yellow and black. Gunn & Chyna double-team Saturn. Chyna powerslam gets two. DDT gets two after a messed-up lowblow. How hard is it, REALLY, to extend your leg backwards and bend at the knee? Eddy blasts Chyna with the belt and Saturn pins her. Good riddance. Road Dogg goes next, but gets suplexed. Eddy beats him up, and dropkicks the knee to block the funky punches. Radicalz work on the knee. Hot tag Gunn, and he gets beat down, too. Drop sleeper on Eddy gets the pin. Isn’t it amazing how Eddy jobs constantly and is yet still over, while Gunn wins constantly and still isn’t? How about that. K-Kwik gets his time to do his thing with Malenko, and smartly they let him do a sequence with Benoit. That one ends via a Benoit german suplex soon after. Road Dogg & Saturn do a boring bit, and Saturn suplexes him for the pin soon after, leaving Billy boy 3-on-1. A fameasser gets rid of Malenko, but Gunn is GASSED and hardly able to stand up. Get this man some oxygen and a steroid needle, STAT! Benoit headbutt gets two. Gunn suplex is blocked by Saturn and Benoit falls on top for the winning pin at 12:41, leaving Benoit & Saturn as your sole survivors. Wow, the Radz actually WIN A MATCH! ** – Chris Jericho v. Kane. Slugfest to start. Jericho dropkicks Kane out and baseball slides him. Tope follows and they brawl. That goes on for a bit, and Jericho dropkicks the stairs into him in a bad-looking spot. Back in, Kane powerslam gets two. He spikes Jericho and the boring chants start as he pounds away. Kane gets a hangman, a move not seen in a while. Jericho escapes, and Kane pulls off the turnbuckle. Kane pounds him down again, and casually tosses him out to the floor. JR completely oversells the drama here, and if I have to hear one more “He’s small, but he’s spunky and never-say-die speech” again from Ross I’m gonna barf all over my keyboard. Okay, it worked ONCE with Shawn Michaels, but then Shawn had nearly autonomous political power behind the scenes and actually got guys who would SELL for him and (gasp) LOSE once in a while. Back in, Kane goes aerial, but gets crotched. He tries again and Jericho dropkicks him in mid-air. Jericho trips him up and hits a missile dropkick for two. Rollup gets two. Jericho allegedly tries the Walls of Jericho, but it ends up being more of a Boston Crab because Kane doesn’t know how to sell the move properly and isn’t flexible enough to do it right. He powers out (what a shock) and catches Jericho on the Lionsault, then chokeslams him for the pin at 12:35. Notice how Kane gets to escape both of Jericho’s finishes, but one chokeslam kills Jericho dead. Welcome to midcard hell, Chris, hope you enjoyed your cup of coffee with credibility. Nyuk nyuk. (2011 Scott sez:  Well at least he’d go on to win the World title a few times) ** Match was at least better than I had feared it would be. – European title match: William Regal v. Hardcore Holly. This is an odd pairing, to say the least. Hardcore Holly is an interesting case, because he has easy and marketable heat with Kurt Angle, but the WWF is obviously set in the thinking that Holly will never be higher than midcard, so they simply refuse to acknowledge any heat he might get that would suggest otherwise. Cf. Billy Gunn, where the opposite happens and the WWF ONLY acknowledges heat that suggests what they want. Not that I think Holly should be main eventing or anything, but he at least deserves as much of a shot at it as Mr. Gass has gotten. (2011 Scott sez:  HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA, fuck Bob Holly) Regal works the mat and tortures Bob’s arm for a few minutes, before Holly gets flustered and grabs the title belt for the cheap DQ at 5:48. And that’s that. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Trish hits on Angle, but he’s clueless. I’ve given up on this angle ever going anywhere, so now I just chuckle at the innuendo and move on.  (2011 Scott sez:  Never did go anywhere.)The Rock v. Rikishi. Wow, shunted pretty far down the card, Rocky. Slugfest to start, as Rock blasts him and grabs a chair, but is prevented from using it. Rikishi hits a superkick and big elbow. Legdrop injures Rock’s chest further, thus marking the only time I can ever remember where Rock sold an injury on THREE consecutive WWF shows (RAW, Smackdown, PPV) without giving into the impulse to do a superman comeback. I suppose you could go back to 1999 when HHH was breaking his arm with a sledgehammer and a casket, but even then it seemed like more of an inconvenience than an injury at the time. Sideslam gets two. Rock dumps Rikishi. Ref is bumped outside, so Rikishi grabs the SLEDGEHAMMER OF PLOT and books WCW for a few months. No wait, he actually takes a swing at Rock and runs into a Rock Bottom. No ref. Rikishi comes back with a falling headbutt and samoan drop, and a buttdrop gets two. CHEEKS OF FIRE, and Rock takes the Stinkface?! Wow, talk about sucking it up for the company. I hope not literally. Rock comes booming out of the corner like Tammy Sytch charging for a discarded crack pipe in the gutter, and hits a lariat. Spinebuster, but he’s still injured. He manages to hit the People’s Elbow (good thing he had the adrenaline surge to wave his arms in the air like that, or else the move might have just looked stupid) and gets the pin at 11:20. Despite the idiocy of JR selling the Elbow as so devastating that Rikishi had to be pinned by it, this match was about a billion times better than it had any right to be. ***1/4 Rikishi then destroys my goodwill by hitting four Banzai drops, making me wonder “why the hell didn’t he just go over in the first place?” but then that’s the WWF for ya. – Women’s title match: Ivory v. Lita. Lita kicks and punches to start, and Ivory potatoes her so hard that she bleeds hardway from the eye. Ouch. Ivory stomps away. Lita nearly breaks Ivory’s neck with a rana, driving her right on her head. Get this chick some training, STAT. She hits a plancha on Ivory & Steven, and back in for a bodypress that gets two. Moonsault misses, and another one hits the knees and Ivory gets the pin to retain at 4:52. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I’m sure this RTC thing is very amusing for Vince and his cronies but for those of us who have to watch the matches it’s getting ugly. DUD – Meanwhile, Jericho beats the hell out of Kane in the back, guaranteeing that the feud will be dragged out for another PPV. “You want cream and sugar with that, BITCH?” – WWF title match: Kurt Angle v. The Undertaker. We take a moment of silence to reflect on the first year of the Angle Era, then Kurt lists all his top moments for us. UT is wearing the most incredibly old-person-looking pair of slacks I’ve ever seen tonight. “Hey, kid, get off my barcalounger before I call the cops and tie you to the learning tree!” Angle pounds away to start, but UT hits the big boot and legdrop and it’s all over! Undertakermania is running wild, brother! Okay, so it only gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. Taker picks him up both times. Ropewalk follows, and Angle runs away. Back in, Angle suplex gets two. Outside, UT posts Angle, twice. Doesn’t go anywhere, as Angle works the knee back in the ring until Taker suddenly hits a Fujiwara armbar out of nowhere. Angle is tapping, but Edge & Christian break their promise and run in anyway, distracting the ref. Angle keeps working the knee. Yawn. Chokeslam, ref is still busy. Russian legsweep gets two. Angle gets a figure-four, UT reverses. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Angle goes back to the knee, and hooks the Bret Hart ringpost figure-four. Bret got more coverage than anyone else on the show tonight, with his name being mentioned seemingly once every five minutes until everyone in the room was halfway convinced he’d be there in some form. UT goes for the tombstone, but Angle bails and heads under the ring, where Steve Keirn is waiting in a Doink costume. What a social faux pas. UT pulls Angle out, Last Ride…but it only gets two, because it’s not really Angle. Oh, dear god, they ARE recycling the Doink angle from 1993. I hate being right sometimes. The REAL Angle rolls up the confused Undertaker for the pin at 16:17 as I groan. Match was again about a billion times better than I had feared, but that ending…UGH. (2011 Scott sez:  And they recycled it AGAIN with Eric Angle in 2003!)Maybe Kurt can bring Brian Lee back now as his own personal Undertaker. **3/4 Would have been higher if all the attempted psychology would have led anywhere. – Edge & Christian & Bull & Goodfather v. The Hardy Boyz & The Dudley Boyz. Bull & Buh Buh start. Bull handles both Duds, and D-Von gets beat on. Hot tag Matt, but Edge gets an inverted X-Factor (called an “edge-o-matic”) for the first pin. Christian quickly hits the tomikaze on D-Von for the pin. Jeff moonsaults Christian for two, but eats post. Bull misses a charge, and hot tag to Buh Buh follows. He takes care of business, and Edge spears Bull by mistake for the pin. Atomic bomb on Edge gets him. Goodfather DVDs Buh Buh for the pin, leaving Goodfather & Christian v. Jeff Hardy. Jeff dodges Christian and hits the swanton, leaving Goodfather, and that ends as the Ho Train misses and Jeff gets the pin at 10:05. Kinda rushed and RAW-ish all around. *1/4 All the RTC guys go through tables. The point here continues to elude me. – Steve Austin v. HHH. Austin whoops Hunter to start, and they punch each other. Thesz press and elbow from Austin, and they brawl outside. Not much happens, crowd’s dead. Back to the ring, Austin nails him with a monitor and he does his traditional bladejob. Austin sits and grabs a couple of beers. Finally we head back into the ring. Kick and punch, and HHH reverses the KICK WHAM STUNNER with a neckbreaker, but can’t capitalize. More kicking and punching gets two for HHH. Austin spinebuster, but the second rope elbow misses. Back outside, more weak brawling. HHH gets backdropped through a table. Back in, it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER, but Austin doesn’t want the pin. He grabs a chair and tries to Pillmanize HHH, but he escapes and they fight to the back. The Radicalz attack and beat Austin down, but since none of them are tippety-top guys they just provide a distraction while HHH warms up the car. Austin counters with a forklift, however, and drops HHH, car and all, 15 feet in the air onto the concrete, which in all likelihood should have killed him in real life. I don’t quite see how that’s not worse than HHH running Austin down last year, but maybe that’s just me. Besides, I’m sure that with a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, HHH’s death will be downgraded to a 6-8 recuperation period and some rehabilitation before returning from the afterlife to do a run-in at Royal Rumble. Ah, the Sportz Entertainment Finish, god bless the legacy of Vince Russo. No contest at 25:00 or so. *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  Oh COME ON.  That match has gotta be better than *1/2.  I should grab the DVD and check it out again this week.) The Bottom Line: If this stuff is going anywhere, I don’t see it. This was an obvious slapped-together card as Vince seems to be too busy auditioning cheerleaders for the XFL to pay attention to the company that actually makes him money. I’m getting really tired of every major match being “such-and-such was screwed!” or “This feud isn’t over, not by a long shot!” without much “He’s the better man, so he won” to balance things out a bit. I guess that wouldn’t have Attitude, though. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down for a subpar show that was actually a bit better than I expected, but not enough to be, you know, good.

Survivor Series Countdown: 2000

The SK Rant for WWF Survivor Series 2000 – Was I not watching the same PPV as everyone else on the ‘net who seem to be giving it glowing reviews or were there just sunspots altering my perception of what was I watching?– Before we get to the PPV, I thought I’d give a few quick thoughts on the new WWF game, No Mercy. Basically, my biggest gripe with it is that it’s essentially the same game as WM2000 and Revenge and the other THQ WWF games. There’s not that much in the way of technical innovations here, unless you count horrific slowdown in 4-player games as innovative. THQ/Asmik, despite having a better name than Acclaim at this point with regard to the wrestling video game genre, seems to falling into the same trap of producing the same game ad infinitum with a few added features here and there, plus vague promises of other ones that never seem to materialize. I mean, how hard is it to allow editing of pre-made wrestlers, for god’s sake? Further, the silly “Essa Rios is as tall as Andre the Giant” thing is still there, as are the numerous collision detection and camera problems that never seem to be fixed. Ring entrances are edited down to no longer include in-ring antics, but that’s understandable for space reasons. Guest ref mode is also added, and works about the same as in Smackdown. It took me a while to figure out that you have to focus on the guy who you want to count for and what button to use, but no biggie there. The ladder matches rock it old school, and nothing compares to tossing weapons at your friends. The rest is just the same as usual, however, and probably isn’t worth the $60-$80 you’ll have to drop on it. It’s game like this that really makes me wonder why no one is willing to develop wrestling games for the PC – your average GeForce card can easily handle the polygons needed to kill the N64’s version of this, plus the sound and video would be 100x better, plus updates and patches could be issued or sold as needed. Oh well. (2011 Scott sez:  What the FUCK was I smoking?  No Mercy is of course the greatest wrestling game ever made, by far.  And who would pay $80 for an N64 cartridge anyway?  Did we really used to do that?) – Live from Tampa, Florida. – Your hosts are JR & The King. – Opening match: T&A and Trish Stratus v. Crash & Molly & Steve Blackman. Probably wouldn’t be my choice of an opener. Albert & Blackman kick each other to start, then Crash comes in and gets tossed around. Molly & Trish go, as Trish runs away soon after. Crash hits a quick rana on Test for two. Crash gets beat up. Hot tag Molly, and she kills Trish, but gets tripped up by Test. Pier-six erupts, and Trish bulldogs Molly for two. Molly gets a sunset flip on Trish for the pin at 5:03. Basic Smackdown match here. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Edge & Christian do a pre-emptive ducking-out of helping Angle win, but he just wants to celebrate later. – Meanwhile, Lo Down gets stopped by security because no one knows who they are. I love shoot angles that aren’t supposed to be shoot angles. – K-Kwik, Road Dogg, Mr. One Smoking Ass Rockabilly G & Chyna v. The Radicalz. The rapping thing is NOT helping anyone and a mercy killing would seem to be in order. (2011 Scott sez:  And yet K-Kwik is main-eventing Survivor Series this year.  Goes to show how things change in wrestling).  Radicalz are once again color coordinated, this time in Killer Bee yellow and black. Gunn & Chyna double-team Saturn. Chyna powerslam gets two. DDT gets two after a messed-up lowblow. How hard is it, REALLY, to extend your leg backwards and bend at the knee? Eddy blasts Chyna with the belt and Saturn pins her. Good riddance. Road Dogg goes next, but gets suplexed. Eddy beats him up, and dropkicks the knee to block the funky punches. Radicalz work on the knee. Hot tag Gunn, and he gets beat down, too. Drop sleeper on Eddy gets the pin. Isn’t it amazing how Eddy jobs constantly and is yet still over, while Gunn wins constantly and still isn’t? How about that. K-Kwik gets his time to do his thing with Malenko, and smartly they let him do a sequence with Benoit. That one ends via a Benoit german suplex soon after. Road Dogg & Saturn do a boring bit, and Saturn suplexes him for the pin soon after, leaving Billy boy 3-on-1. A fameasser gets rid of Malenko, but Gunn is GASSED and hardly able to stand up. Get this man some oxygen and a steroid needle, STAT! Benoit headbutt gets two. Gunn suplex is blocked by Saturn and Benoit falls on top for the winning pin at 12:41, leaving Benoit & Saturn as your sole survivors. Wow, the Radz actually WIN A MATCH! ** – Chris Jericho v. Kane. Slugfest to start. Jericho dropkicks Kane out and baseball slides him. Tope follows and they brawl. That goes on for a bit, and Jericho dropkicks the stairs into him in a bad-looking spot. Back in, Kane powerslam gets two. He spikes Jericho and the boring chants start as he pounds away. Kane gets a hangman, a move not seen in a while. Jericho escapes, and Kane pulls off the turnbuckle. Kane pounds him down again, and casually tosses him out to the floor. JR completely oversells the drama here, and if I have to hear one more “He’s small, but he’s spunky and never-say-die speech” again from Ross I’m gonna barf all over my keyboard. Okay, it worked ONCE with Shawn Michaels, but then Shawn had nearly autonomous political power behind the scenes and actually got guys who would SELL for him and (gasp) LOSE once in a while. Back in, Kane goes aerial, but gets crotched. He tries again and Jericho dropkicks him in mid-air. Jericho trips him up and hits a missile dropkick for two. Rollup gets two. Jericho allegedly tries the Walls of Jericho, but it ends up being more of a Boston Crab because Kane doesn’t know how to sell the move properly and isn’t flexible enough to do it right. He powers out (what a shock) and catches Jericho on the Lionsault, then chokeslams him for the pin at 12:35. Notice how Kane gets to escape both of Jericho’s finishes, but one chokeslam kills Jericho dead. Welcome to midcard hell, Chris, hope you enjoyed your cup of coffee with credibility. Nyuk nyuk. (2011 Scott sez:  Well at least he’d go on to win the World title a few times) ** Match was at least better than I had feared it would be. – European title match: William Regal v. Hardcore Holly. This is an odd pairing, to say the least. Hardcore Holly is an interesting case, because he has easy and marketable heat with Kurt Angle, but the WWF is obviously set in the thinking that Holly will never be higher than midcard, so they simply refuse to acknowledge any heat he might get that would suggest otherwise. Cf. Billy Gunn, where the opposite happens and the WWF ONLY acknowledges heat that suggests what they want. Not that I think Holly should be main eventing or anything, but he at least deserves as much of a shot at it as Mr. Gass has gotten. (2011 Scott sez:  HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA, fuck Bob Holly) Regal works the mat and tortures Bob’s arm for a few minutes, before Holly gets flustered and grabs the title belt for the cheap DQ at 5:48. And that’s that. *1/2 – Meanwhile, Trish hits on Angle, but he’s clueless. I’ve given up on this angle ever going anywhere, so now I just chuckle at the innuendo and move on.  (2011 Scott sez:  Never did go anywhere.)The Rock v. Rikishi. Wow, shunted pretty far down the card, Rocky. Slugfest to start, as Rock blasts him and grabs a chair, but is prevented from using it. Rikishi hits a superkick and big elbow. Legdrop injures Rock’s chest further, thus marking the only time I can ever remember where Rock sold an injury on THREE consecutive WWF shows (RAW, Smackdown, PPV) without giving into the impulse to do a superman comeback. I suppose you could go back to 1999 when HHH was breaking his arm with a sledgehammer and a casket, but even then it seemed like more of an inconvenience than an injury at the time. Sideslam gets two. Rock dumps Rikishi. Ref is bumped outside, so Rikishi grabs the SLEDGEHAMMER OF PLOT and books WCW for a few months. No wait, he actually takes a swing at Rock and runs into a Rock Bottom. No ref. Rikishi comes back with a falling headbutt and samoan drop, and a buttdrop gets two. CHEEKS OF FIRE, and Rock takes the Stinkface?! Wow, talk about sucking it up for the company. I hope not literally. Rock comes booming out of the corner like Tammy Sytch charging for a discarded crack pipe in the gutter, and hits a lariat. Spinebuster, but he’s still injured. He manages to hit the People’s Elbow (good thing he had the adrenaline surge to wave his arms in the air like that, or else the move might have just looked stupid) and gets the pin at 11:20. Despite the idiocy of JR selling the Elbow as so devastating that Rikishi had to be pinned by it, this match was about a billion times better than it had any right to be. ***1/4 Rikishi then destroys my goodwill by hitting four Banzai drops, making me wonder “why the hell didn’t he just go over in the first place?” but then that’s the WWF for ya. – Women’s title match: Ivory v. Lita. Lita kicks and punches to start, and Ivory potatoes her so hard that she bleeds hardway from the eye. Ouch. Ivory stomps away. Lita nearly breaks Ivory’s neck with a rana, driving her right on her head. Get this chick some training, STAT. She hits a plancha on Ivory & Steven, and back in for a bodypress that gets two. Moonsault misses, and another one hits the knees and Ivory gets the pin to retain at 4:52. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I’m sure this RTC thing is very amusing for Vince and his cronies but for those of us who have to watch the matches it’s getting ugly. DUD – Meanwhile, Jericho beats the hell out of Kane in the back, guaranteeing that the feud will be dragged out for another PPV. “You want cream and sugar with that, BITCH?” – WWF title match: Kurt Angle v. The Undertaker. We take a moment of silence to reflect on the first year of the Angle Era, then Kurt lists all his top moments for us. UT is wearing the most incredibly old-person-looking pair of slacks I’ve ever seen tonight. “Hey, kid, get off my barcalounger before I call the cops and tie you to the learning tree!” Angle pounds away to start, but UT hits the big boot and legdrop and it’s all over! Undertakermania is running wild, brother! Okay, so it only gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. Taker picks him up both times. Ropewalk follows, and Angle runs away. Back in, Angle suplex gets two. Outside, UT posts Angle, twice. Doesn’t go anywhere, as Angle works the knee back in the ring until Taker suddenly hits a Fujiwara armbar out of nowhere. Angle is tapping, but Edge & Christian break their promise and run in anyway, distracting the ref. Angle keeps working the knee. Yawn. Chokeslam, ref is still busy. Russian legsweep gets two. Angle gets a figure-four, UT reverses. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Angle goes back to the knee, and hooks the Bret Hart ringpost figure-four. Bret got more coverage than anyone else on the show tonight, with his name being mentioned seemingly once every five minutes until everyone in the room was halfway convinced he’d be there in some form. UT goes for the tombstone, but Angle bails and heads under the ring, where Steve Keirn is waiting in a Doink costume. What a social faux pas. UT pulls Angle out, Last Ride…but it only gets two, because it’s not really Angle. Oh, dear god, they ARE recycling the Doink angle from 1993. I hate being right sometimes. The REAL Angle rolls up the confused Undertaker for the pin at 16:17 as I groan. Match was again about a billion times better than I had feared, but that ending…UGH. (2011 Scott sez:  And they recycled it AGAIN with Eric Angle in 2003!)Maybe Kurt can bring Brian Lee back now as his own personal Undertaker. **3/4 Would have been higher if all the attempted psychology would have led anywhere. – Edge & Christian & Bull & Goodfather v. The Hardy Boyz & The Dudley Boyz. Bull & Buh Buh start. Bull handles both Duds, and D-Von gets beat on. Hot tag Matt, but Edge gets an inverted X-Factor (called an “edge-o-matic”) for the first pin. Christian quickly hits the tomikaze on D-Von for the pin. Jeff moonsaults Christian for two, but eats post. Bull misses a charge, and hot tag to Buh Buh follows. He takes care of business, and Edge spears Bull by mistake for the pin. Atomic bomb on Edge gets him. Goodfather DVDs Buh Buh for the pin, leaving Goodfather & Christian v. Jeff Hardy. Jeff dodges Christian and hits the swanton, leaving Goodfather, and that ends as the Ho Train misses and Jeff gets the pin at 10:05. Kinda rushed and RAW-ish all around. *1/4 All the RTC guys go through tables. The point here continues to elude me. – Steve Austin v. HHH. Austin whoops Hunter to start, and they punch each other. Thesz press and elbow from Austin, and they brawl outside. Not much happens, crowd’s dead. Back to the ring, Austin nails him with a monitor and he does his traditional bladejob. Austin sits and grabs a couple of beers. Finally we head back into the ring. Kick and punch, and HHH reverses the KICK WHAM STUNNER with a neckbreaker, but can’t capitalize. More kicking and punching gets two for HHH. Austin spinebuster, but the second rope elbow misses. Back outside, more weak brawling. HHH gets backdropped through a table. Back in, it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER, but Austin doesn’t want the pin. He grabs a chair and tries to Pillmanize HHH, but he escapes and they fight to the back. The Radicalz attack and beat Austin down, but since none of them are tippety-top guys they just provide a distraction while HHH warms up the car. Austin counters with a forklift, however, and drops HHH, car and all, 15 feet in the air onto the concrete, which in all likelihood should have killed him in real life. I don’t quite see how that’s not worse than HHH running Austin down last year, but maybe that’s just me. Besides, I’m sure that with a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, HHH’s death will be downgraded to a 6-8 recuperation period and some rehabilitation before returning from the afterlife to do a run-in at Royal Rumble. Ah, the Sportz Entertainment Finish, god bless the legacy of Vince Russo. No contest at 25:00 or so. *1/2  (2011 Scott sez:  Oh COME ON.  That match has gotta be better than *1/2.  I should grab the DVD and check it out again this week.) The Bottom Line: If this stuff is going anywhere, I don’t see it. This was an obvious slapped-together card as Vince seems to be too busy auditioning cheerleaders for the XFL to pay attention to the company that actually makes him money. I’m getting really tired of every major match being “such-and-such was screwed!” or “This feud isn’t over, not by a long shot!” without much “He’s the better man, so he won” to balance things out a bit. I guess that wouldn’t have Attitude, though. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down for a subpar show that was actually a bit better than I expected, but not enough to be, you know, good.